Shilpi enjoys performing Indian dance and reading. She's considering becoming a doctor someday because it "gives me many options."
After Shilpi's grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, she learned that iron deficiency from blood loss might be one of the first signs of intestinal cancer. She wondered whether it might be possible to develop an easy, inexpensive, and accurate test for iron deficiency that people can perform at home. After researching the subject, she found that people with iron deficiency might have reddish urine after eating beets, a condition called beeturia.
Shilpi recruited 15 people with low blood concentrations of iron and 15 people with normal iron concentrations from a local doctor's office. She had each volunteer eat a whole beet root at dinnertime. Then, the next morning, each person reported whether his or her urine had a reddish tint. Shilpi found that 11 volunteers in the low-iron group had red urine, but only one in the normal-iron group did. These results suggest that eating beets may be an effective method for early detection of an iron deficiency.