Sebastian Kaulitzki

Want to check your child’s poop for liver disease? There’s an app for that

A new app, PoopMD, can identify whether your child’s poop shows signs of biliary atresia (BA), a rare and life-threatening disease that damages the liver in infants. After a user takes a picture of their infant’s stool, the app uses color-recognition software to identify whether the poo hue is the right shade of white or gray—colors associated with BA. Users can store their results and email a photo directly to their pediatrician using the app, which was created by health marketing agency HCB Health and Johns Hopkins University. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center confirmed the accuracy of the app in a new study published today in PLOS ONE. According to the researchers, BA affects one out of 14,000 children in the United States and is the leading cause of liver transplantation in children. This free app could save not only lives but also money, as the base cost for a liver transplant runs about $150,000 in addition to antirejection treatments that cost about $25,000 a year.