A 15-year-old boy from Tamil Nadu, Akash Manoj, has developed a device that can be used to detect 'silent heart attacks'. The device is bound to help save many lives, and this is just the beginning of Akash's journey.
Heart attacks usually show symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath. However, in the case of silent heart attacks, the mentioned symptoms are not felt. They can often be mistaken for a normal flu or uneasiness. Thus, people often do not realise that they might not be as healthy as they seem. Akash was motivated to build such a device when his grandfather became the victim of a silent heart attack. According to Hindustan Times, Akash said,
He was a diabetic and had high blood pressure, but was healthy otherwise. He had a silent heart attack, collapsed, and died.
Akash has always been interested in medical literature, and used to read it for fun since eighth standard. He had also been going to the library in the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru, which was an hour away from his home in Hosur, 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 favourite.
Akash has used a non-invasive technique to develop the device, which involves the detection of a protein, FABP3, in the blood. The device can be placed around the wrist or the back of the ear. As per Huffington Post India, Akash said this about the technique of the device,
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 is presently at Rashtrapathi Bhavan as a guest of President Pranab Mukherjee for the Innovation Scholars In-Residence Programme. Akash believes that this device can be used for the greater good by saving many lives, especially of those living in the rural areas who do not have easy access to a hospital. He has already filed for the patent since he wants the Indian government to use the project for the public good instead of selling it to a private firm. Akash wants to pursue cardiology and study in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi in the future.
At such a young age, Akash has done something so extraordinary and inspiring that he certainly deserves our respect. It will be interesting to see the accomplishments of this wonder boy as he moves forward in his journey.