London - It’s probably not something many of us would want to use just days after munching our way through a mountain of Christmas pud and mince pies, but scientists have created the world’s first mobile phone cholesterol-checker.
The device clips over the phone’s camera so that it can take a close-up of a pinprick of blood and analyse the colour.
The blood is held on a paper strip impregnated with enzymes that react with cholesterol and turn blood blue. The more cholesterol, the deeper the blue.
A close-up photo with a diffused flash captures the precise shade of blue, and a downloadable app then translates the colour into a cholesterol reading.
Researcher Matt Mancuso, of Cornell University in New York State, said: “With the naked eye, it would be very difficult to tell if you are making improvements in your cholesterol levels.”
Cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.0 millimoles per litre, but they are above that in two-thirds of adults in Britain. The higher the level, the greater the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Many people only discover they have high cholesterol after experiencing one of these crises. Mr Mancuso said making it easier for people to check their levels earlier could save lives. Researchers hope the device will be on the market within two years and cost between £30 and £60. - Mail On Sunday