New Magnets Can Detect Malaria

Scientists Develop Tests to Fight Deadly Parasites

by Melody Krishnan, age 16

            Malaria is a killer. It is a deadly disease carried by mosquitoes, and it is most prevalent in developing countries with subtropical or tropical climates.
            Malaria affects many parts of the human body and is often fatal. In 2010, it caused 1.2 million deaths across the world.
            Mosquitoes inject the malarial parasites into their human victims.
            Malarial parasites eat the hemoglobin in the human body. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen carrier found in red blood cells, but the parasites are not capable of eliminating the iron. Therefore, malarial parasites have a storage tank that is occupied by iron-rich crystallized waste.
            Researchers at Case Western Reserve University recently developed a new test to better detect malaria parasites in human blood. This malaria detector takes advantage of the fact that the parasites cannot get rid of the iron they extract from human blood. This iron can be magnetized.
            Case Western scientists developed a hand-held, battery-powered device to replace current diagnostic tests for malaria.
            The battery-powered box magnetizes the iron-containing molecules in the parasites. First, it combines a potential host’s drop of blood with water, places a magnetic field around this mixture, and shines a laser through it. If the blood contains parasites, the water breaks them apart releasing the iron compounds in crystalline form. Finally, the crystals partially obstruct the laser by lining up in the magnetic field.
            In rural clinics, malaria is detected using rapid test kits, which do not require trained microscopists. These chemical-based kits arrived on the market in the past decade and have since sped up malaria diagnoses.
            Tests on blood samples from Papua New Guinea conducted by Brian T. Grimberg, a Case Western University biologist, found the magnet-laser box to be nearly twice as accurate as a microscope technician at finding parasites and more than three times as accurate as a rapid test kit. Grimberg adds that rapid test kits often expire in hot climates.
            The Case Western device costs $250. In addition, the team states its test can pay for itself and can beat the price of the rapid test kits by at least 50 cents per use.
            The group of Case Western University researchers found that the magnet-laser box is a more economical, faster, and more effective way of diagnosing malaria. If they receive funding, they will direct their next project toward field tests to determine if this device is proficient at diagnosing malaria in countries where the illness is most prominent.

[Sources: The New York Times; USA Today]

Very interesting! – NyatabaMadison (2013-10-04 14:50)
I really wish that more cecanr research like this will be done. I lost someone close to me to cecanr, and we really need more robust screening methods for all people around the world to help prevent this dreadful disease. – AndrewI really wish that more cecanr research like this will be done. I lost someone close to me to cecanr, and we really need more robust screening methods for all people around the world to help prevent this dreadful disease. (2014-01-08 15:57)
Pablo Sámano Quiroz Hola Natalia te recomiendo usar mi solución de like box. Con eso vas a poder ver las actiiluzacaones de tu fan page de facebook. – PaitPablo Sámano Quiroz Hola Natalia te recomiendo usar mi solución de like box. Con eso vas a poder ver las actiiluzacaones de tu fan page de facebook. (2016-07-19 21:34)
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