The approach, developed by N.R. Shanker and his colleagues of the Sree Sastha Institute of Engineering and Technology, is based on a large database of cholesterol levels recorded by standard blood tests and matched with a photo of the hand of each patient. Cholesterol is seen in the crease of one's finger. The researchers created an image processing computer program that compares a patient image with thousands of entries in the database until one matches to a specific cholesterol reading.
Measuring cholesterol is an important factor in determining risks for cardiovascular disease. Excess cholesterol can build up as a waxy plaque that reduces the blood flow - which can cause heart problems and increase the risk of cerebral stroke.
Total cholesterol can be a useful indicator, but a different test must be done to differentiate between LDL ("bad cholesterol") and HDL ("good cholesterol") for a more accurate assessment.
An inexpensive and noninvasive test for cholesterol screening can allow this risk factor to be found in larger populations without painful and costly blood tests. This same team of researchers will be publishing results of classifying cholesterol type using their approach.
What is cholesterol?Cholesterol is a fat, a lipid; it is produced in the liver and is vital for normal body function. Cholesterol lies in the outer layer of every cell in the human body.
- Builds and maintains the outer layer of cell membranes, it also prevents the crystallization of hydrocarbons in the membrane
- Determines cell membrane permeability - which molecules can pass into the cell and which are blocked
- Plays a crucial role in the production of estrogens and androgens (sex hormones)
- Plays a vital role in hormone production in the adrenal glands, including aldosterone, cortisol and corticosterone.
- Plays a role in converting sunlight into vitamin D
- Insulates nerve fibers
- Play a tole in the metabolism of vitamins A, D, E and K (soluble vitamins)
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald