Foldscope could be better alternative to clinical microscope: DST

NEW DELHI, June 23: Department of Science and Technology (DST) has said that the Foldscope is an affordable origami-based microscopy device composed of a series of paper clippings.
Upon assembling, the device can hold a specimen slide for observation, and this specimen can be viewed via a mobile phone camera attached to it.
Referring to an experiment, Chandigarh based Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), under the guidance of the scientists headed by Principal Scientist Dr Alka Rao, collaborated with a team of doctors from government ad private hospitals have explored and validated the clinical utility of Foldscope in the diagnosis of diseases using various patient samples.
The study evaluated the use of the Foldscope in the clinical diagnosis of oral and urinary tract infections and evaluated its efficacy as a motivational tool for improving oral health among school children in India.
“The study identifies that Foldscope is particularly convenient to diagnose urinary tract infection (UTI) and monitor kidney stone. Using this tool, one can easily monitor own-kidney stone status at home with a simple glass-slide, a Foldscope and a phone in hand. Such monitoring could perhaps avoid kidney stone reaching a painful state or surgery in recurring cases” Dr Rao said.
Given the ease of operation and low cost, Foldscope may be employed in public healthcare centres for primary diagnosis of oral health and UTI or as personal health monitoring device,” she said further.
To do the assessment, a patient sample like urine is smeared on a transparent glass slide and visualized under a Foldscope mounted on a cell phone. Sample images can be enlarged using the zoom function of the mobile, which can be stored on mobile memory card for later reference or patient records. Foldscope can be assembled using paper clips and mounted on cell phone using coupler and glue drops.
The researchers have qualitatively compared the Foldscope to a clinical microscope by examining five different types of clinical samples. Of the different types of clinical samples, the Foldscope was effective in detecting infection in dental plaque samples and urine samples. The team further analysed 31 dental plaque samples of patients aged 3?13 years and 25 urine samples of patients aged 11?62 years.
“We also evaluated the use of Foldscope as an educational tool for motivating oral hygiene among 80 school children aged 12 years and found that students in the Foldscope intervention group had better measures of oral hygiene than did students in the non-intervention group,” Dr Rao added. (UNI)