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A sixteen-year-old helping cure Alzheimer disease

Krtin Nithiyanandam

Think back to what you were doing when you were 15 years old, probably trying to get through the secondary school level, JAMBing or so? Here’s a teenager developing a test for Alzheimer’s disease, that could allow the condition to be diagnosed 10 years before the symptoms first appear.

He says it took 54 emails to professional laboratories before he even received a single reply. “Science isn’t about how old you are, it is just about having ideas.”

“Us as students do have the potential to change the world,” he continued. There are 1.2 billion young people around the world and he says “even if 1 per cent of that 1.2 billion people do something, it is 12 million ideas coming to life”.

As for Nithiyanandam’s ideas, they are gaining traction. His Alzheimer’s test is efficient and can help with diagnosis.

In 2015 he won the Scientific American Innovator Award through Google’s annual science fair. “The main benefits of my test are that it could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms start to show by focusing on pathophysiological changes, some of which can occur a decade before symptoms are prevalent,” Krtin previously told The Daily Telegraph.

Since developing the technique, he has given TED talks and is now moving onto a bigger problem: cancer.

Now aged 16, Nithiyanandam has devised a way to make cancer more treatable. His approach sees him targeting the cancer rather than a direct cure. He has “found a way to change the cancer into a different type,” he says. This means the different types of cancer are more treatable.

He has also found a way to stop genes producing the blocking the ID4 protein, which turns the cancer into a less dangerous state.

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