The color of the tongue provides important information about various diseases present. By using automatic tongue diagnostic systems, it is now possible to correctly diagnose various diseases with an accuracy of 94 percent.
Researchers from the Middle Technical University in Baghdad and the University of South Australia have analyzed the extent to which tongue color can be used to diagnose diseases based on various previous studies and their own investigations. The results are published in the “AIP Conference Proceedings” series of the American Institute of Physics.
Tongue color indicates health status
Examining the tongue has been used to diagnose diseases in traditional Chinese medicine 2,000 years ago. “Thousands of years ago, Chinese medicine pioneered the study of the tongue to detect disease,” says study author Professor Ali Al-Naji.
The color of the tongue can indicate the state of health without physical contact with the sick person being necessary. Automatic tongue diagnostic systems (ATD) are on the rise due to increasing remote health monitoring worldwide.
The team analyzed how effective these are in the current review. The researchers used, among other things, a computer and a USB web camera to analyze images of the tongues of a total of 50 participants who suffered from diabetes, kidney failure and anemia.
Diseases detected with 94 percent accuracy
The colors of the tongues in these images were compared to a database containing 9,000 images of different tongues. By using image processing techniques, the researchers were able to correctly diagnose the above-mentioned diseases with an accuracy of 94 percent compared to laboratory results.
Based on the color, shape and thickness of the tongue, it is possible to recognize signs of diabetes, liver problems, circulatory and digestive disorders, blood diseases and heart disease, the researchers explain in a press release.
tongue about health?
For example, people with diabetes tend to have a yellow tongue, while people with cancer have a purple tongue with a thick, fatty coating, the team reports.
On the other hand, people who have suffered an acute stroke have a red tongue.
Diagnose per Smartphone
“The new methods of diagnosing diseases based on the appearance of the tongue go one step further and are now carried out remotely using artificial intelligence and a camera – even a smartphone,” said Professor Ali Al-Naji.
A computer-aided tongue analysis is highly precise and this method can be used to diagnose diseases safely and extremely effectively from a distance. In addition, such an examination is cost-effective and does not cause pain, the researchers emphasize.
Remote diagnosis also has the advantage that it can be used to diagnose illnesses even when access to health centers is difficult, for example in the event of a global pandemic such as COVID-19.
There was already a study in 2022 in which images of the tongues of a total of 135 people with COVID-19 were analyzed using a smartphone. This showed that 64 percent of those with a mild infection had a pale pink tongue, according to the team.
62 percent of people with a moderate infection had a red tongue and 99 percent of those with a severe course of COVID-19 had a dark red tongue, the researchers reported.
There has also been other research using tongue diagnostic systems that correctly diagnosed appendicitis, diabetes and thyroid disease, according to the experts.
Train diagnosis shows high potential
All the study results make it clear that it is possible to diagnose more than ten diseases based on a visible change in the tongue with an accuracy of 80 percent, the experts summarize. In the current study, three diseases were detected with an accuracy of 94 percent using tongue analysis. This indicates the great potential of tongue analysis for the reliable diagnosis of various diseases. (as)