Every year nearly 8 million people around the world die due to a silent heart attack. Of the total number of heart attacks that occur globally, 50% are silent heart attacks. Silent heart attacks are more catastrophic than one can imagine. However, a 16-year-old boy from Tamil Nadu, India has developed a device which can predict a heart attack at least 6 hours before it can happen and intimate the patient to take precautionary measures.
The Heart Saving Hero
Akash Manoj, a 16-year-old guy studying in high school in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, has invented a wearable device for patients who have heart risk. Akash tells that before going into the crisis mode, the heart sends multiple signals to the multiple parts of the body, seeking help. The device can detect those signals and thus predict a heart attack, at least 6 hours before.
Aakash lost his grandfather when he was 13. His grandfather suffered a silent heart attack. While Akash was just playing around, his grandfather suddenly collapsed right in front of his eyes. Akash told this during his TedX Gateway Seminar.
Story Behind the Success
Aakash has been reading medical literature since he was in class 8th for his interest. His Grandfather’s sudden death aspired him to work in the field to provide ailment for the silent heart attack.
Silent heart attacks are different from other heart attacks. Whilst, a normal heart attack shows several symptoms such as uneasiness, shortness of breath, heavy sweating and primarily chest pain, a silent heart can be confused with a gas problem or normal sickness or flu.
Aakash studied and went through various resources to come up with a device that could predict a heart attack. He spent years studying the heart, it’s nature, heart problems thoroughly and after extensive study, he came up with this device.
How the Device Works
As described by Akash, the heart, before going into distress sends several SOS signals to the different parts of the body. These signals are called Bio-markers. Akash’s device continuously collects data from the body and keeps analyzing it. It is tied to your wrist and can be worn all day long, every day like a regular wrist band or watch. It does not even need any blood test.
A heart attack occurs when the supply of oxygen-rich blood gets stopped from reaching the heart due to blockages caused by clots in arteries. The level of the bio-markers (signals) keeps increasing when the heart starts to lose the flow of oxygen. This triggers symptoms. The device helps to detect and understand these signals and thus allows precautionary measures and emergency medical support to be taken in time to prevent a person from a heart attack.
Further, patients with Diabetes and other such disorders have a severe cardiac condition as Diabetes damages the nerves of a person. As a result, the bio-markers alerted by the body go unrecognized many times which makes it hard for a person to understand that they are undergoing a heart attack.
The device is like a silicon patch and can be worn around the wrist or placed near the heart.
This patch can continuously read the body to spot and track a heart-attack specific biomarker. These biomarkers are called H-FABP. If the level of biomarker signals go up, then the device will send alert signals to the patient of a possible cardiac arrest. The big news is, this device is available at the cost of Rs. 900/-.
Aakash’s Vision with this Device.
Since the device is cost-effective, Aakash does not want the private sector industries to take-over this device, because they will either make it expensive or will the product to kill the competition. Rather, Aakash wants the government to work on the development, production and distribution of his invention.
Aakash is of the view that the device is a breakthrough and it will save a large number of lives. Especially people living in rural area and patients from the underprivileged sector of the society will be more benefitted from this device because they do not have easy access to high-quality facilities. This device is expected to increase the survival rate of heart patients and reduce the cost of treatments for patients who are charged a hefty amount in the name of emergency medical services.
Awards & Recognitions
Researchers and scientists around the world are constantly working on early detection of devastating illnesses like Alzheimer’s and cancer. Manoj on the other end is concerned that cardiac healthcare is being taken as “sick care”. The current treatment and solutions primarily focus on post-care treatment which is followed after a heart attack. He wants to provide a proactive, preventive, life-preserving solution for people at-risk.
As told by Manoj in an interview with Freepress, his device has received clinical validation from Tokyo University of Science, London’s Royal Society of Medicine, and Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Apart from this, Akash Manoj’s efforts have been recognized at the national level. He has been awarded National Child Award & a Gold Medal by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on November 2017 for his exceptional contribution and invention in the medical field. Further, he has received Presidential Innovation Scholar by former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on March 2017.
Reportedly, Aakash had been in contact with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare since August 2018. The ministry has shown interest in his product and supposedly helping him in research and marketing. Akash may soon launch a startup company focused on production and selling of this device to those in need at affordable rates.
Apart from this, Akash Manoj is an Ashoka Youth Venturer and is internationally recognized and validated for his research on the detection of asymptomatic heart attacks and low-cost health-care diagnostics.
Aakash further said it in a TED Talk:
“I’m currently working on a med-tech startup. The recently launched startup is called Cardioptre. It aims to deliver my research for public use.”
He added, “The website for the business is still under development, but the long-term goal with this startup is to have my research transformed into a usable and affordable device for public, and I will continue to work on this research during and after my time at college.”
At such a young age, this guy has created a device which will soon be responsible for saving millions of lives around the world. His efforts have proven that age is just a number and nothing is impossible if you are firm with your goals. We hope that Aakash will develop more such devices, technologies and techniques which will become medical marvels and save millions of more people from expensive treatments and incurable diseases.
Here is the link to his Ted Videos: