Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. At least 3.4 million people in the U.S. live with seizures, including 470,000 children. Among these people, more than one-third are at risk of a deadly complication called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). SUDEP is defined as the sudden and unexpected, non-traumatic, and non-drowning death of a person with epilepsy.
Now, Neurava, a spin-off of Purdue University is developing a wearable device to help stop this deadly condition. The device being developed by two Ph.D. students at Purdue’s College of Engineering are aimed at patients with refractory epilepsy, the type that puts them most at risk for SUDEP, reports Purdue University.
Neurava was co-founded by Jay Shah and Vivek Ganesh, graduate students in the lab of Pedro Irazoqui, the Reilly Professor of Biomedical Engineering and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue.
“We want to provide a simple device that is easy to use and can save lives,” Ganesh said. “Our device monitors key biomarkers and then sends a wireless signal to a caregiver when it detects abnormalities typically linked to SUDEP.”
The founders of Neurava received a $20,000 award from Elevate Ventures, which will help with prototype development and market research. Elevate is a private venture development organization that supports the development and success of entrepreneurs across Indiana.
The co-founders of Neurava received entrepreneurial support from the Purdue Foundry and are working with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to license the technology.
“Purdue continues to provide an amazing community of support for entrepreneurs and innovators who want to take their ideas and turn them into life-saving technologies,” Shah said.
The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue’s intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue.