NOTA mole tracker (https://notamole.com) - this is another device for the study of moles and the diagnosis of skin cancer, which stands out in a special way among others. For example, a magnifying glass is not attached to the phone, but this is an independent device that uses bioimpedance technology for measurements, i.e. it literally penetrates the skin by 2 mm with a weak electrical pulse and measures the resistance of cells.
Here I will make a digression: healthy and cancer cells have different resistance (impedance), which is recorded and transmitted to the application on the phone. Here the data is processed and the result is given - whether the mole is dangerous or not.
Bioimpedance can also be found in smart scales that determine body composition, as well as fitness trackers that count calories.
Yes, the device has a fairly high price - $300, but if you compare, for example, with an annual subscription to the SkinVision application, you get $25 versus $45 monthly. And at the same time, the application is installed only on one phone(not every device is suitable), takes up the lion's share of the device's memory and can be used by only one person. NOTA can measure the moles of all family members, and the application for it is free, supported by almost any device and takes up 50 MB of memory.
After several months of use, I can share my impressions, as well as tell you how quickly moles get injured while being unprotected in the open sun.
Filling and appearance
Let's start with the fact that NOTA is a small black gadget that looks like a thick handle with a button, on one side of which there are removable heads with 4 electrodes, on the other - a charging connector. The case material is a pleasant-to-touch plastic covered with soft-touch, which prevents the device from sliding in your hand when measuring a mole.
NOTA weighs a little more than 40 grams, takes up little space when carrying, so you can take it with you on long trips or business trips without fear of overweight.
The kit includes a replaceable head in an individual velvet bag, a USB charging cable(which, by the way, can be replaced by charging from an iPhone), alcohol wipes and a velvet case for storing the device itself.
Inside the device there is a board, the components of which are produced by the American company Texas Instruments.
The sensitive brass electrodes of the device's head, which record changes in the cells, are coated with gold to prevent corrosion and increase the service life. For convenience, the device has 2 heads - a large one for measuring flat or large moles and a small one for measuring nevi protruding above the surface of the skin.
I propose to close this issue immediately. What you need to understand is that you are not buying another gadget, but the opportunity to detect cancer at an early stage and cure it. Even if you have insurance, getting an appointment with an oncoderatologist(especially in California) is still a quest, and your meeting can be scheduled in 4-5 months. You can use the services of applications that analyze moles using AI, but at the end of the review I will clearly show why this is pointless. And if you have more than 100 moles on your body, then using NOTA will pay for itself in the first month and will save you a lot of time and nerves, since you buy the device once and for a long time.
Maintenance and technical specifications
The NOTA is equipped with a 370 mAh lithium-ion battery, which is enough for an hour of active work, during which you can measure about 180 moles. If we talk about periodic use, then I charged the device only once in 3 months. Full charging via the USB type C connector takes 4 hours, so you can put the device on at night, and actively use it in the morning. One of the huge advantages is that if it is not possible to charge the device completely, and the mole needs to be measured here and now, then you can use the fast charging function: put NOTA to charge for 20 minutes, and then take measurements. This amount of charge is enough for 5-6 scans. You will not be able to use the device while charging.
For the convenience of "communicating" with the device, there is an indicator light near the charging connector that flashes or lights up in different colors and means a particular state. For example, flashing yellow - charging is required, flashing blue-the device is looking for a Bluetooth connection, flashing green quickly - scanning is underway, and so on.
It is required to store Nota, as well as one of the replaceable heads, in a special velvet case in a dry place. Using the device in the bathroom or near the water is possible, but undesirable. Also, you can not immerse the device in water or take measurements of the skin wet from water.
The tracker is made of eco-friendly recyclable plastic.
I should immediately note that this is not a medical device, but its results can be a step towards an early meeting with a dermatologist, which will help get rid of possible skin cancer at an early stage, when treatment is limited only to removing a mole and subsequent observation. I would also like to note that the bioimpedance method used by the NOTA itself was approved by the FDA as a method for non-invasive (i.e., without taking a mole sample - biopsy) detection of skin cancer/melanoma at an early stage. Therefore, I use the NOTA also as a 2-opinion after consulting a dermatologist. Here I want to note as a user: I like the fact that I can measure my moles at any time(for example, the nevus began to itch) and understand whether it is worth worrying about this and looking for an early appointment with a doctor or everything is fine.
For NOTA to work, need a phone with the NOTA mole tracker application installed, which can be downloaded from the AppStore or Google Play, and Bluetooth.
When I started using the app, I needed to create a personal account that will store all the surveys, and when I replace my phone, I will be able to transfer all the measurement data to a new device.
All moles are stored as a list with brief information - the location of the mole, the time of the last scan, a reminder and an icon with a green or red dot-the result of the last examination. Moles can be sorted by the time of creation, the last scan, and so on.
To view detailed information, as well as compare photos of moles and the results of all scans, need to click on the desired item from the list of nevi.
On this screen, in the upper part, we can see the title, the date and time of the study, the number of measurements(here, for example, there are 3 of them)
In the center we see a photo of a mole, and by the arrow to the side can see and compare the previous photos according to the ABCDE rule.
In the lower left part of the screen there is an icon with a part of the body where the nevus is located, as well as 2 buttons: highlighted in green shows the measurement result without decoding, white makes it possible to create a new study of the same mole.
I'll go back a little: there is a green notepad that lights up at the top of the screen. If click it, the result of the selected measurement will open with the possibility of entering feedback from the doctor.
Here you can also put a reminder about repeated testing and read the result of the survey.
I think that the theoretical part can be finished with this.
The second part will be devoted to practice, i.e. I will show how the examination takes place and share the data of an interesting experiment from life, which shows how dangerous the sun is for an unprotected mole.
II. Home examination of moles with the help of a NOTA and an experiment.
In the first part, we have analyzed the theory, here will be an exclusively practical description of the use of the device. So, let's start with the introductory data of the subject: 30 years old, more than 150 moles on the body. I'm getting a bad tan, the skin type according to Fitzpatrick is 2. New moles appear periodically.
The NOTA is needed to quickly determine whether everything is in order with the old moles and whether the new ones are not malignant.
For an example of the work of the device and the application, I will make a measurement of the birthmark on the right leg, above the knee.
To start, log in to the application and select the New mole item
Next, a body map opens, where you can mark the location of the nevus. Gray dots are moles that are already in the application, green is a new mole.
After clicking Save, the nevus examination process begins with entering the size. For this, I used a soft meter. I will make a digression - the size of the mole affects the number of measurements, but not the quality. If you do not have a ruler at hand, then you can enter the approximate dimensions of the nevus.
The next screen is a photo of a mole. There is nothing new here - we point the camera at the nevus and take a photo.
In the same screen, the tools for enlarging the mole appear. We save the photo and proceed to the next stage - connecting NOTA to the phone.
Everything is simple here - you need to turn on Bluetooth on your phone and hold down the button on the device. While the Note is flashing blue, the device is being searched for, and then the device indicator switches to static blue.
After connecting the NOTA, you can immediately see which head is connected. Click Done and proceed to scanning the nevus.
A tip appears on the application screen - wipe the skin with an alcohol napkin and measure the skin next to the nevus. This will be a reference measurement, that is, it will determine how much the cells of the mole differ from the cells of healthy skin.
An alcohol napkin in this case cleanses and slightly moisturizes the skin, making it more sensitive to the signal passing through the electrodes of the device.
After the reference measurement, the application will offer to measure the mole itself. I also wipe it with an alcohol napkin and apply the NOTA with electrodes to the mole.
The next screen provides a transcript, as well as the ability to enter feedback or set a reminder about the next scan.
That's it, the process of measuring the mole is over and I got the result.
And now, as promised, I will share the results of an interesting experiment and clearly show how dangerous the sun's rays are for open moles and how useless photo applications are.
Everyone has heard about the dangers of ultraviolet radiation. And many people know that excessive exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. But, any person believes that "this will not affect me/ I don't sunbathe/ this is for the benefit/ for the production of vitamin D/ I have a vacation" and everything like that.
Therefore, I wanted to clearly show that even a short stay in the direct sun without protective equipment causes harm, which can be noticed with the help of NOTA.
To do this, I take a device, an application and choose a mole that is initially healthy. The location is the upper part of the abdomen, that is, the mole is constantly hidden from the sun by clothing.
Next, I packed my things and went to the place of the experiment - to the river, to take sun and river baths. At the time of collection, the UV-index application showed 6 points, that is, a person with my skin type (according to Fitzpatrick-2) can be in the open sun without protective equipment for no more than 50 minutes.
It would seem that I will not do this, because the primary desire is to be in the water, and only then in the sun.
...It took 1.5 hours. I make a measurement of the mole.
As you can see, the device noticed changes in the mole. And this is despite the fact that most of these one and a half hours I was in the water(ratio: about 60 minutes in the water, 30 minutes in the sun). Additional symptoms: the skin is hot and itches a little near the mole, which means getting a slight sunburn.
In an additional load, I checked the mole through a photo application with AI.
Not concerning...And if there is really nothing suspicious outwardly, then the sensations say the opposite!
Conclusions from the experiment:
1) The bioimpedance method used by NOTA notices changes in the mole even after a short stay in the sun without protection(sunscreen, clothing).
2) Applications for detecting changes in moles using photos are ineffective. And if you really want to know the "fate of the mole from the photo" - send the image to the doctor.
3) Always use sun protection, even if you think that you will not burn in the sun!
P.S. A day later, when the itching and skin temperature passed, I measured the mole again - everything is fine.
Be healthy and take care of your moles:)