Thermometer-like device diagnoses heart attacks

Scientists have developed a thermometer-like device that could help doctors diagnose heart attacks.

Researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea, noted that one way to tell whether someone has had a heart attack involves measuring the level of the protein troponin in their blood. The protein’s concentration rises when blood is cut off from the heart, and the muscle is damaged.

Inspired by the simplicity of mercury thermometers, the researchers created a way to detect troponin involving a glass vial, specialised nanoparticles, a drop of ink and a skinny tube. When human serum with troponin — even at a minute concentration — is mixed with the nanoparticles and put in the vial, the ink climbs up a protruding tube and can be read with the naked eye just like a thermometer.