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Smart Phone app called Dieta

People who suffer from gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome are number two when it comes to describing the characteristics of their own poop.

What’s new: The smartphone app Dieta helps patients to keep gastrointestinal illnesses in check by tracking their own behaviors and symptoms. It includes a computer vision model that recognizes medically salient characteristics of excrement as accurately as doctors and better than most patients, a recent study found.

How it works: The app enables patients to log symptoms such as nausea, constipation, and abdominal pain; behaviors like exercise, sleep, and meals; treatments including medications, supplements, and diet; and feelings of illness or wellbeing. It also helps patients experiment on themselves, recommending lifestyle changes and treatments and enabling patients to forward the results to caregivers. A computer vision model classifies feces according to characteristics that are useful in diagnosis.

  • Patients use the app to take a picture of their stool. The model classifies the excreta in five aspects: size, consistency, fragmentation, indistinct edges, and type according to the Bristol Stool Scale.
  • To train the model, the developers collected and classified 68,000 photos submitted by users including the startup’s founder.
  • A clinical version lets patients chat with caregivers and provides a location tracker that flags unplanned bathroom visits (for instance, pulling off a freeway to attend to an urgent matter).

Behind the news: Machine learning engineers have trained other models to peer into the toilet.

  • Moxie, a smartphone app that debuted in 2020, similarly classifies poop according to the Bristol Stool Scale. A 2020 review by Wired found that it mistook a photo of the reviewer’s face for a bowel movement.
  • In 2020, researchers from Duke and Stanford developed the Precision Health Toilet. The device uses a suite of sensors to evaluate waste for factors like consistency and blood content (a risk factor for cancer and other ailments).

Why it matters: Roughly 40 percent of adults worldwide may suffer from gastrointestinal conditions, according to a 2021 study. Tracking bowel movements helps to diagnose these conditions earlier and more accurately.

We’re thinking: We’re grateful that someone — other than us — builds models that classify the Bristol Stool Scale.


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