Today our expert guest is Dr. Nicholas Opie. He is a biomedical engineer with experience in neural prosthesis, co-head of the Vascular Bionics Laboratory, and Founder of pioneering endovascular bionics company Synchron, Inc.

Vascular bionics combine biology and medical electronics in the bloodstream. Devices like stents and pacemakers are currently using blood vessels, and Dr. Opie sees these as an opportunity to access the brain without open brain surgery.

These bionics have potential applications for individuals who suffer from paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and degenerative diseases.

 

Making Technology Applicable

Too often, engineers and researchers create something fantastic that never reaches clinical use. Synchron is devoted to making these technological breakthroughs medically applicable.

They’re currently developing STENTRODE™, the world’s first endovascular electrode array. It  is a minimally invasive implantable device designed to interpret signals from the brain, and Synchron is currently preparing for a pilot clinical trial of the device.

They plan to evaluate the safety and feasibility of the device to enable patient-directed brain control over mobility assist devices. He’s confident people will be able to control wheel chairs and computers using the device, and his ambitious goal is that the technology will also allow people to control prosthetic limbs.

In just the United States, there are about 6.9 million people who are paralyzed. “If we can help even a small fraction of those, then everything we’re doing is worthwhile.”

 

The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

If you enjoy what you do, then it’s not working.

“That’s what I like to live by. Everything I do is because it’s something I enjoy and it’s something I want to do. I think if everyone can take that bit of advice and do what they are passionate about, then their lives will be a lot happier and they’ll have a great time doing it.”

 

Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.

 

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