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Camera Phones Can Help Doctors Make Rare Diagnoses

Patient captured images of transient symptoms and gave them to her doctor

FRIDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- A pregnant patient with an uncommon nipple condition captured images of the transient changes to her nipples and gave them to her doctor, enabling an accurate diagnosis, according to an article published online July 22 in BMJ.

Oddgeir L. Holmen, of St. Olav's University Hospital, and Bjorn Backe, M.D., of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, both in Trondheim, Norway, wrote that the patient had reported frequent, extreme, bilateral nipple pain lasting between five and 15 minutes and accompanied by changes to the color of her nipples, from white to blue and then red.

When the patient experienced an episode, she captured images of the color changes of her mobile phone camera and presented the images to her doctor, who was then able to diagnose Raynaud's phenomenon. Providing photos of all three phases of an attack enabled the doctor to avoid misdiagnosing the condition as candida, the researchers write.

"Only a limited number of case reports have been presented in the literature and the prevalence of the disease is unknown," the authors conclude. "The phenomenon is possibly an underdiagnosed cause of nipple pain. This could be because of general practitioners' lack of awareness of it, especially when mothers seek help of their general practitioners rather than of hospital clinicians due to delay of symptoms after delivery, and because symptoms of a single episode have vanished before the patient reaches the general practitioner's office."

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