AKU receives grant to develop stroke risk detection device
November 21, 2013
Reducing high blood pressure, preventing diabetes, and decreasing high cholesterol levels can prevent stroke in 80 per cent people prone to the risk. Using the power of biomedical and mobile technologies, researchers at Aga Khan University will develop a simple, glove like device that will empower people to check their blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol, and record an ECG without blood tests anywhere in the world.
The project is part of Grand Challenges Canada grants competition. Grand Challenges Canada is funded by the Government of Canada and supports bold ideas with big impact in global health. Of the 83 grants announced, 50 have been given to innovators in 15 low- and middle-income nations worldwide, including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
“Detection of stroke risks means repeated doctor’s visits, and measurements, and it requires tests, technical support staff and a doctor. Through this device, we hope to simplify it to a single interaction and bypass complexity and access,” suggests Dr Ayeesha Kamran Kamal, Associate Professor and Stroke Neurologist, AKU, and the lead researcher of a cross disciplinary team with biomedical engineers, nurses, physicians and e-Health personnel.
The device will consist of a leather glove having photodiodes (capable of converting light into either current or voltage), blood pressure and electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) sensors integrated with a central circuit. The measurements will be readable by patients in the form of colour codes that will tell them whether they are at low, high or moderate risk regardless of numeracy and literacy skills.
“It will link to a cell phone and the data may be transferred to a physician, if required. The cell phone can provide audio feedback as well. These will be aligned to the latest guidelines and also be translated to adapt easily to local languages,” said Dr Kamal.
At the Grand Challenges Canada grants competition, the portfolio of 83 creative, out-of-the-box ideas, selected through independent peer review from 451 applications, includes projects submitted by social entrepreneurs, private sector companies and non-government organizations as well as university researchers.
Pakistan received two grants. The second one has been awarded to the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, for the project Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water Using Agriculture/Food-Industry Solid Wastes as Low-Cost Sorbents.