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Global Health
August 21, 2013

Cough Sounds Can Help Pinpoint Pneumonia Cases

JAMA. 2013;310(7):682. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.196982

The sounds in a child’s cough carry information that can be analyzed to more accurately diagnose pneumonia in resource-poor regions of the world, report Australian and Indonesian researchers (Abeyratne UR et al. Ann Biomed Eng. doi:10.1007/s10439-013-0836-0 [published online June 7, 2013]). Most pneumonia deaths in children occur in these regions, where reliable diagnosis of childhood pneumonia is difficult.

The researchers devised an automated system to analyze coughs and respiratory sounds collected by microphones on patients’ bedside tables. They collected 815 cough events from 91 patients who had been admitted to the Sardjito Hospital of Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia and who were believed to have acute respiratory illness.