Norwegian doctors are singing the praises of the camera phone, saying the tiny device installed in most mobiles these days can be a useful medical tool.
In an unusual case reported in Friday's British Medical Journal (BMJ), obstetricians at St. Olav's University Hospital in Trondheim report how a 25-year-old pregnant woman used her camera phone to provide pictures that helped them diagnose a rare but excruciating disorder.
She told the doctors that an agonising pain would shoot through her breasts whenever her fingers, toes or nipples got cold, such as when walking barefoot on a cold floor or taking a shower.
The pain typically lasted between five and 15 minutes and was so extreme as to bring her to tears.
The colour of the nipples also changed, to white and then to blue as the pain intensified, and finally to red as the pain subsided and was replaced by numbness.
The unnamed patient presented three photographs from her camera phone showing the colour changes in a typical episode.
Aided by the pictures, the doctors were able to diagnose a condition called Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple.
After treatment, her symptoms completely disappeared within a week.
"Ordinary camera phones deliver high-quality photographs, which can help doctors make uncommon diagnoses," the case report says.