Researchers from Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) have developed a new method that can quickly and reliability diagnosis malaria. Using magnetic resonance relaxometry (MRR), the researchers were able to detect the amount of hemozoin in red blood cells. Hemozion is a waste product released by malaria parasites.
A device was created using a 0.5-tesla magnet that exposes hemozoin crystals to a powerful magnetic field. The hemozion crystals interfere with the normal magnetic spin of hydrogen atoms. If there is no hemozion present, hydrogen atoms spin in the same direction. When hemozion is present, the synchrony is interrupted and the more magnetic particles present, the quicker the synchrony is disrupted. This new technique offers a more reliable way to detect malaria than current malaria testing.