New Delhi: The most common cause of death among the world are heart attacks. Medical professionals the world over, have always emphasized the symptoms of heart attacks, like chest pain, shortness of breath, cold sweats, etc.
The scary part is that the number of 'silent' heart attacks is gradually on the rise and that is definitely a matter of concern.
Silent heart attacks occur when blood flow to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. As per a research, the risk of dying from heart disease increases by three times in case of a silent heart attack.
However, a student of class ten from Tamil Nadu has come to the rescue! The teenager has developed a new technique that can non-invasively detect the risk of a 'silent heart attack', an advance that may save many lives in rural areas.
Akash Manoj is staying in Rashtrapati Bhavan as a guest of President Pranab Mukherjee under "Innovation Scholars In-Residence Programme".
He is being honoured with this opportunity for his innovation called "Non-invasive self diagnosis of silent heart attack".
"Silent heart attacks are extremely deadly and alarmingly common these days. In these cases, almost no symptoms are evident and thus people look so healthy to us," Manoj told PTI at the Festival of Innovation organised in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
"My grandfather also looked healthy but one day he collapsed following a sudden heart attack," he said.
The incident served as an impetus for Manoj to develop his prototype that was exhibited at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The technique involves frequently analysing the presence of FABP3 – a blood biomarker of heart attack – without puncturing the skin.
"FABP3 is one of the smallest proteins that can be present in blood, and is charged negatively (so it attracts to positive charges). I used these properties in this technique," Manoj explained.
Manoj's model consists of a silicone membrane that represents the skin capillaries, and a drop of a solution of proteins albumin and FABP3 to simulate blood.
When a small potential of positive charge is applied to the model, FABP3 accumulates on dermal capillaries, which can then be detected by ultra-violet (UV) quantification, he said.
In this process, UV light is passed through the thin skin in which FABP3 is accumulated and a sensor detects the amount of protein there, based on the how much of the light was absorbed.
The innovation may be helpful for "at-risk" people in rural areas to test their heart's health on their own, and consult a doctor in time.
Manoj, who wishes to become a cardiologist, wants this technique to be available in rural areas so that people can keep track of their heart's health and seek timely medical help.
The In-Residence Programme was first launched by the President in 2013 to encourage the creative and innovative potential of citizens.
The festival, conducted in collaboration with the National Innovation Foundation, will conclude on March 10.
(With PTI inputs)