He Likes to Build Things

Myshkin Ingawale; an Indian scientist creates a portable device that is capable of ‘on the spot’ testing for anemia without drawing blood

Anemia is an illness that constitutes low levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin in blood (1). It’s caused by, either a lack of production, or destruction of red blood cells (2). Health choices that pertain to low hemoglobin levels are malnutrition, irregular hormone activity and chronic diseases such as cancer (2). Diet is the most conventional co-cause of anemia, idiosyncratic to developing countries such as India. Despite its preventability, 70% of Indian children, aged 6-59 months, being tested positive for anemia (3).

Myshkin Ingewale  has revolutionized the way in which anemia is detected. Originally, anemia was diagnosed utilizing an instrument known as a Coulter Counter. Its cost, size and technical difficulty made it extremely exclusive;  this proved inconvenient for developing areas with large populations. Consequently, undiagnosed and untreated anemia, becomes fatal. To reiterate, anemia is a non-expensive  treatable illness;  its diagnoses is to blame for its fatal effects on poorer societies.

Myshkin Tells Us The Story of His Invention : TED Conference, Longbeach, California

On vacation, Myshkin met with a friend interning as doctor in a small village named Parol, north of Mumbai. He was told a story of a mother and child who had died during birth from an illness (known as post partum hemorrhage)  caused by anemia. Saddened by this friends story, Myshkin decided to dedicate his “love of building” towards preventing a similar occurrence…..and so, he went to work.

With help from a team of doctors and engineers, Myshkin developed an inexpensive, portable and user friendly device capable of measuring hemoglobin levels and oxygen saturation without extracting blood.  The measurement of these levels in juxtaposition to heart rate is capable of issuing a positive-negative  anemia verdict within twenty seconds.

The technology encircling the ‘ToucHBQuick’ pertains to the concept photoplethysmography; a device that is used to optically measure the volume of an entity. A clip placed on the patients finger contains three lights that emit specific wavelengths that penetrate right through the tissue. Based on the amount of light that is transmitted, scattered and absorbed, oxygen and hemoglobin levels can be measured.

The significance of the ‘ToucHBQuick’ is to reduce fatalities corresponding to anemia based illnesses. It achieves this purpose by speedily detecting anemia at a low, or no cost to the patient. It saves time because it does not require the extraction of blood, let alone a technician to process the blood in a Coulter Counter. As of now this instrument is being sold globally by Myshkins company Biosense. By 2020 Myshkin hopes that his device will cause less than 50 deaths per year, GLOBALLY.

 

References

1. Anemia Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Diet, Treatment – MedicineNet. 2013. Anemia Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Diet, Treatment – MedicineNet. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/anemia/article.htm. [Accessed 24 May 2013].

2. What Causes Anemia? – NHLBI, NIH. 2013. What Causes Anemia? – NHLBI, NIH. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia/causes.html. [Accessed 24 May 2013].

3. Myshkin Ingawale: A blood test without bleeding | Video on TED.com. 2013. Myshkin Ingawale: A blood test without bleeding | Video on TED.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/myshkin_ingawale_a_blood_test_without_bleeding.html. [Accessed 24 May 2013].

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