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Doctors can use app to see if patients are faking alcohol withdrawal symptoms

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When treating the tremors what come along with alcohol withdrawal, doctors are often faced with addicts who fake symptoms to score prescription drugs. To make determining who’s a faker and who’s legit easier, researchers at the University of Toronto have created an app that can help. On Monday, the Guardian Liberty Voice reports that a doctor with 19 years of experience dealing with patients experiencing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal helped develop the app.

Bjug Borgundvaag who works as an ER physician says that tremors are one of the biggest indicators of alcohol withdrawal, which can be a very dangerous condition that leads to seizures. However, tremors aren’t always reliable. He says he noticed especially with less experienced doctors that their assessments of hand tremors weren’t always accurate.

To help with that, researchers created an app. The app uses motion sensors that are already in iPhones and iPod Touches. Researchers put the app to the test in hospitals around Toronto to find their information.

Researchers found that those who are actually experiencing withdrawal symptoms will have tremors at most seven cycles per second. But the app is still in its infancy. Gizmodo reports that seasoned doctors still have a better success rate at determining who is faking or not. In the future, the researchers hope to include further factors, such as body temperature, to help narrow down whether or not a person is using their time in the ER just to get their hands on prescription drugs.

But future projects are already in mind. The Star reports that the professor who worked on the app, Parham Aarabi, is also considering using the app in wristwatches to help pick up on the early tremors that come with parkinson’s Disease.

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