Bryan F. Shaw, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences. When his son was diagnosed with retinoblastoma (the formation of tumors on the retina) he learned that "white eye" (a white spot appearing in the pupil) was a sign of leukocoria which is a precursor to the disease.
This led him to research old photographs of his son to see if they showed the white eye symptom. His research indicated that, indeed, the symptom was present as early as 12 days old. Since his investigation, investigators at Baylor and Harvard University have reviewed more than 7,000 photographs to determine the presence of the symptoms. Dr. Shaw is developing software that can detect the "white eye" symptom in the photographs of children.
Ultimately, Shaw would like to see this software available anywhere there's a picture of a child. "I would like this application, this software, to be free, and I would want it anywhere a picture of a kid is: your laptop computer, your Flickr account, your Facebook account, your phone, your camera," Shaw says. "I don't care where."
Dr. Shaw will need more samples to validate the detector, both from parents who have had their children diagnosed with retinoblastoma, and those without. His goal is to improve the symptom detection methodology while reducing the incidence of false positives.
You can submit a photo for analysis, but be mindful that this is currently version 0.1 of the software.