As many as 2,300 people in a Tamil Nadu village and over 60 doctors are taking part in a research project to study diabetes complications.
A medical technology company, DyAnsys India, has begun the study in association with the Tirunelveli Medical College at the Ariyanayakipuram village, near here.
"At present, there is little testing done to detect a diabetic condition known as diabetic autonomic neuropathy, because of the complication of doing tests," Srini Nageshwar, chief executive officer, DyAnsys Inc and DyAnsys India, said Saturday.
"Since the 1930s, it was known that the variability of the heart rate is the only indicator of how the autonomic nervous system in the body functions. Tests to determine the rate variability of the heart are not yet common and widespread," he added.
The heart rate tests will be conducted using ANSiscope, a device by DyAnsys India, which won the prestigious Frost and Sullivan Award for Innovation in Healthcare.
This battery-operated, hand-held device, a little bigger than a mobile phone, which monitors a person's nervous system and gives the result in just five minutes, has now been made available in India by DyAnsys.
The portable device, costing about Rs.20,000, is made by the company in a Chennai plant.
The device uses a simple ECG (electrocardiogram) reading to graphically show on its screen how well or ill a person is by measuring the activity of both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system of the body, the chief executive officer said.
"Our application of mathematics to medicine has helped us develop this unique measuring equipment," said Srini.
"It is designed for general physicians. It helps them start treatment early, especially in remote places where accessibility to specialist medical care is poor," he added.
The Tirunelveli study will be done in two phases, with the first round Saturday.