Australian researchers want to use 3D mapping to identify rare diseases in children.

The new ‘Cliniface’ project aims to assist clinical diagnosis, drug treatment monitoring and clinical trials by using accurate and reliable 3D facial image visualisation and analysis methods.

“The shape and growth of the face is a window into a person’s health and this technology is especially suited to younger patients where conditions can be discovered through tell-tale variations in the development of facial features,” says Dr Richard Palmer, an expert in spatial sciences.

“This technology unobtrusively takes highly accurate measurements from a 3D image of a face and analyses them in seconds to help detect latent medical issues.

“Assessing whether a face has grown in a way that might be due to an underlying rare condition in childhood is when this tool is most useful, meaning it speeds up the diagnosis and resulting medical intervention.”

Cliniface project manager Dr Petra Helmholz says the project is also seeking to unlock the power of 3D facial images of Indigenous children and newborns to enable a more efficient diagnosis of rare diseases.

“The project has already attracted considerable interest from clinicians and institutes in Australia and overseas including in the US, Europe and India,” Dr Helmholz said.

“The latest version of the Cliniface application was recently released and includes new facial measurements that allows clinicians to generate PDF reports for clinicians highlighting which facial traits of potential medical relevance have been detected.”