Akash Manoj, a Class 10 student of Tamil Nadu, has developed a device to predict ‘silent’ heart attacks, identified as one a major health risk for thousands of Indians.
Akash Manoj is staying in Rashtrapati Bhavan as a guest of President Pranab Mukherjee under the Innovation Scholars In-Residence Programme. He is being honoured with this opportunity for his innovation called “Non-invasive self diagnosis of silent heart attack”.
The schoolboy said he was inspired after his grandfather suffered a heart attack and it is thought the advance could save many lives. “My grandfather also looked healthy but one day he collapsed following a sudden heart attack,” he said.
“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,” Akash said during the Festival of Innovation organized in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Since the time Akash was in Class 8, he started visiting the library at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, which is more than an hour away from his hometown Hosur in Tamil Nadu.
Akash said, “Journal articles are expensive, so visiting the libraries was the only way I could do it. Otherwise, it would have cost more than a crore (of rupees) for the amount I read. I was always interested in medical science and I liked reading the journals…cardiology is my favorite.”
The technique of the device involves frequently analyzing the presence of FABP3, a blood biomarker of the heart attack, without puncturing the skin. Akash’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.
“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,” Akash said. UV light is passed through the skin and a sensor detects the amount of protein present.
He is a confident teenager who has been globe-tottering to attend various scientific conventions. At the age of 15, his visiting card describes him as a researcher in Cardiology.
He can speak at length about his project and break it down for you if you can’t understand, so, board exams are not a big deal. “I have seen people worried about board exams. I study for it, but it does not bother me,” said Akash.
The skin patch invented by Akash has to be attached to the wrist or the back of the ear and it will release a small ‘positive’ electric impulse, which will attract the negatively charged protein released by the heart to signal a heart attack. If the quantity of FABP3 is high, the person must seek immediate medical assistance.
Clinical trials for the medical device are on and it could be approved for the human trial. The product would be fit to be launched in the market after two months of human trial, assuming nothing goes wrong.
He said, “I have already filed for a patent and I would tie up with department of biotechnology for the trial. I would want the government of India to take the project instead of selling it to a private company because it is for the public good.”