Taking photographs or video of unusual symptoms on an ordinary camera phone can help doctors diagnose uncommon problems, according to researchers.

A paper published in the BMJ describes the case of a 25 year old pregnant woman in Norway who reported frequent episodes of severe nipple pain.

The pain occurred when her fingers, toes or nipples became cold, such as when walking barefoot or taking a shower. A typical episode lasted between five and 15 minutes and involved extreme pain with the colour of the nipples changing from white to blue and then finally red in tandem with the type of pain felt.

The woman presented three photographs from her camera phone depicting the colour change of a typical episode.

The doctors from Trondheim, Norway, said that with the help of the photographs they diagnosed Raynaud’s phenomenon of the nipple. The patient was given treatment, her symptoms completely resolved within one week, and she was able to continue breastfeeding with no side effects.

Raynaud’s phenomenon is possibly an under diagnosed case of nipple pain, conclude the authors, partly because primary health care workers are often not aware of this condition, and partly because the symptoms have vanished before the patient reaches the GP surgery.

The researchers reported that an ordinary camera phone could deliver high quality photographs which can help doctors make undiagnoses.


BMJ Article