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Akshay Padmanabha, 16, of Collierville, submitted a bioengineering project to the Intel Science Talent Search. People suffering from seizure disorders resistant to drugs or surgery can be treated with a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), which delivers a constant, low-voltage signal to the brain. While it is an effective therapy, the side effects of continuous stimulation by a VNS include sleep apnea and an increased risk of heart disease. Akshay analyzed epileptic EEGs to develop an algorithm for detecting oncoming seizures and simulated the algorithm's use in a VNS-triggering system. His algorithm could be used to activate the VNS at the time of seizure onset, possibly avoiding the side effects of constant stimulation. He believes it could become the basis for embedded VNS-control software. Akshay plays the electric and jazz bassoon, is principal bassoonist of the Houston High School band in Germantown and started a bassoon quartet. He plays Ultimate Frisbee, is founder and captain of the Math Bowl team and is a leader of Horizons, which promotes interaction between special needs and general education students. The son of Poombady and Asha Padmanabha, Akshay can speak, read and write Kannada, his first language.
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