Researchers have revealed that by studying the tongue’s texture and condition, about 14 conditions related to diseases within the body can be diagnosed, bringing the diagnosis of diseases much cheaper and reachable to even rural areas in the country.
The new “tongue test system” has been developed by Karthik Ramamurthy and his colleagues at the Department of Information Technology, Rajalakshmi Engineering College, in Chennai. They have trained a neural network that can take standard questions about symptoms and upload an image of the patient’s tongue that can offer a likely diagnosis, making it easier for the poor and people living in remote areas.
The digitised images of the tongue reveal discolouration, engorgement, texture and other factors which are indicative of inner illness in the body.
Some of the basic inputs include “beefiness” that indicates vitamin B12 deficiency, iron, or folate deficiency, and anemia, while black discolouration reflects fungal overgrowth in HIV patients or prolonged antibiotics usage. Longitudinal furrows on the tongue are associated with syphilis and ulcer on tongue warn of Crohn’s disease or colitis and other conditions.
The team’s automated diagnostic depends not merely on tongue texture but also corraborates them with other symptoms to identify several conditions like common cold, flu, bronchitis, streptococcal throat
infection, sinusitis, allergies, asthma, pulmonary edema, food poisoning and diverticulitis.
The current system allows them diagnose 14 conditions, and its research is published in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology.
It may be recalled that in a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz revealed to viewers about using the tongue as a health barometer. “The tongue is super helpful for diagnosing disease…it can say a lot of things about your health,” says Dr. Oz who tells viewers that the condition of your tongue can actually tell you what is going on with your body―IF, you know what to look for.”
A healthy tongue will have a nice even bubble wrap type of texture that is slightly moist and pink in color.Too much bacteria growth if one feels more of a velvety feel and perhaps some dark coloration, Dr. Oz warns.