Budding Teen Scientist From Plano Working on Parkinson's Treatment

Anushka Sridhar, an 8th grader in Plano, is working on vibration therapy for Parkinson's patients in her great-aunt's memory

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In North Texas, bright young minds are hard at work and one in particular may be on the verge of shaping the future for patients with Parkinson's disease.

At 14 years old, it seems there's nothing Anushka Sridhar hasn't done.

"Outside of school, I play volleyball, basketball, I'm a third-degree black belt in taekwondo. I do an Indian cultural dance and I'm also part of Destination Imagination," the Plano ISD 8th grader said.

Sridhar is also a budding scientist, who won the grand prize in her school's science fair.

She created a device designed to lessen the tremors experienced by Parkinson's patients.

"My great aunt passed away. With her tremors though, she had a lot of difficulties just with daily activity," Sridhar said. "So that sparked an idea for me to try and create like a wrist band that could mitigate the tremors."

For two months, she dove head first into researching Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder that causes hand tremors and imbalance.

She learned about how vibration therapy can help the motor skills of Parkinson's patients.

The idea is the vibrations fool the brain and distract it from the physical sensation of tremors so that patients have an easier time writing.

It's a well-known theory that even the goliaths of the industry, like Microsoft, are looking into.

Sridhar used common materials, like velcro and simple curcuits to create a prototype wristband. She reached out to the Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society, or DAPS, for test subjects willing to strap on her homemade wristband.

"They were excited that a young person would take that kind iof interest. You can't help but be impressed when you hear her," DAPS Executive Director Mike Miles said.

The partnership blossomed, and Sridhar connected with people five times her age. Each one seem impressed with the device, that not only worked, but gave them hope!

"I'm sure she will study that and improve on it and one day, we will have a device that we could put on and write normally," said 81-year-old Ryan Wagner of Plano.

Sridhar said she planned to expand her research and build more prototypes of her wristband.

She hopes to one day affect the lives of every Parkinson's patient.

She now advances to the Plano ISD district fair and the Dallas regional science fair.

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