(ANSA) – ROME, MAY 29 – A ‘popò’ photo on the diaper and a few simple steps with a smartphone to facilitate the early identification of neonatal cholestasis, an accumulation of bile in the liver that can have very serious effects on children’s health . The new tool available to parents is the PopòApp, conceived and developed by the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in collaboration with Anibec – the Italian National Association of Chronic Hepatopathic Children.
The application, the result of research published in the Journal of Medical Screening, uses artificial intelligence algorithms and the colorimetric characterization of feces to return results with a degree of accuracy close to 100%.
Neonatal cholestasis is a disorder characterized by the accumulation of bile in the liver as a result of the reduction or stoppage of the normal flow of bile to the intestine. The causes of these disorders are various: metabolic problems, genetic defects, malformations, infections, but in most cases they are due to biliary atresia (progressive destruction of the biliary tract) which represents the main indication for liver transplantation in children.
Cholestasis is difficult to diagnose and has a high incidence in the neonatal period (on average 1 in 2,500 newborns suffers from it). The characteristic symptoms, which usually occur during the first 2 weeks of the newborn’s life, are jaundice, dark urine and light-colored stools (hypo-acholic stools). The recognition of faecal hypo-acolia through the color test is a method of early diagnosis of pathological neonatal cholestasis conditions.
The Bambino Gesù app, developed with a machine learning algorithm, facilitates the early identification of cholestasis in the first weeks of children’s life by recognizing hypo-acholic stools. The algorithm compares the color of the photo with the colorimetric card, returning an initial indication. Once the preliminary result has been received, the app allows you to contact the specialized center to carry out the test further through a visit or televisit of the child, attaching the photo taken.
“Considering the seriousness of its consequences, cholestasis, especially if caused by biliary tract atresia, must be recognized in the newborn as soon as possible – says Marco Spada, head of Hepato-bilio-pancreatic Surgery and Liver-Kidney Transplants del Bambino Gesù – In fact, if the disease is identified and treated early by hepatobiliopancreatic surgery and hepatobiliopancreatic surgery specialists, almost 100% of newborns can be effectively treated and have normal life prospects”.
“The application – explains Prof. Giuseppe Maggiore, head of Hepatogastroenterology and Nutrition of the Child Jesus – is a tool capable of intercepting some pathological conditions of the newborn which, if diagnosed late, can seriously endanger the health of children. For this reason is recommended to all new parents from the first days after the birth of the babies and for the first 3 months of life”. (HANDLE).
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