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Montreal teen invents $500 dialysis machine for home use

By Megan Hamilton     Feb 12, 2015 in Science
Montreal - While volunteering at her local hospital, Anya Pogharian, 17, found out how difficult it is for many patients to go to the hospital when they need help, something she especially noticed of kidney dialysis patients coming in three days per week.
So, she looked to the Internet and did some research. She knew she had the perfect subject for her school science project, Yahoo! News Canada reports. It wasn't long before the tech-savvy teen invented a better way to help these patients.
Pogharian created a kidney dialysis machine that can be built for about $500, and that's much less expensive than the $30,000 machines hospitals currently use. As part of her high school science project, she spent 300 hours on research and design, instead of the 10 hours that are required, Mother Nature Network (MNN) reported. One of the best things about this machine is that it's small enough to be used at home.
Anya Pogharian
Anya Pogharian
YouTube screen grab
Kidney dialysis removes toxins from the bloodstream and helps the body maintain a proper balance of nutrients, something that healthy kidneys would normally accomplish. This procedure is used primarily to treat patients who are dealing with different forms of kidney failure. High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common causes of kidney disease, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 10 Americans has some kind of chronic kidney disease.
It's a procedure that takes a lot out of patients, however. Especially if they have to travel to the hospital and have trouble with mobility.
"It takes a lot of energy out of them," Pogharian told CBC News Montreal. "They're very tired after a dialysis treatment."
"You wouldn't have to make your way to the hospital, which is a problem for a lot of patients. It's not necessarily easy to make your way to the hospital three times a week, especially if you have limited mobility," she added.
One company, Héma-Québec was suitably impressed enough with the teen's invention and its potential to cut medical costs and shorten hospitalization stays that it has offered Pogharian, now a student at Marianopolis College, a summer internship to test her machine with real blood, Yahoo! News Canada reports.
Her hard work has paid off and the project has garnered her plenty of scholarships and awards.
Pogharian said she hopes her machine will be used overseas.
"Ten percent of patients living in India and Pakistan who need the treatment can't afford it or can't have it in any way," she told CBC News. "It's not accessible. So that motivated me."
In the meantime, she's currently boning up on her midterm exams.
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