Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 04:22 AM IST

TEDxGateway 2018: Synapto co-founder and CEO Dhruv Patel on taking on Alzheimer’s


Dhruv Patel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Synapto, a biotech company revolutionising the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s through portable Electroencephalogram (EEG) and artificial intelligence. Synapto uses a headset device that senses electrical activity inside a person’s brain. Patients with the disease have different brainwaves than those who don’t; the device can detect these differences to tell if a person has Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Aim at Synapto

“We are aiming to make the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease more accessible, affordable, and routine through the use of portable brainwave scanning systems and artificial intelligence models. Right now, AD diagnosis is expensive, complicated, and always happens too late; our system enables a low-cost approach combined with data analytics to make diagnosis earlier. In the current state, AD diagnosis happens post-symptomatically, meaning families have less time to plan, and lower success rate for drugs. Making AD screening routine will enable for more planning, earlier drug regimen, and thus potentially stop the disease as a whole.”


Perfect for rural India

“AD is often misdiagnosed or even un-diagnosed. The low-cost nature of this system makes for ideal use in rural areas, where large machines like MRIs and PETs are unavailable.”

Urgent need for invention


“In a world where we cannot provide hope to 50+ million people plagued with AD, an invention like this is urgent and imperative. Without early detection, patients are left with little options for care and a poor quality of life. With this device, we have the ability to give hope to millions.”

Working on AI

“As of now, we have not made definitive progress on prevention or detection of other diseases, but are looking into furthering the technology for differential dementia diagnosis, that is, using AI to differentiate between Dementia with Lewy Bodies, AD, Depression, etc.”


Beating the scourge

“AD is a tough disease, particularly because of the complicated reasons one may develop the disease.  There are hundreds of clinical trials for AD therapeutics and experimental devices, with many failing because they attempt to look at the disease occurring due to one or two specific biomarkers. Greater emphasis on medical research and science for the disease must be undertaken to understand the holistic nature of the disease on many fronts.”

Core message

“Research in engineering and science in big corporate and public labs is great and useful, but with the willpower and motivation to do so, anyone anywhere can spark change and transform the future of innovation. Great things happen as a result of small achievements, and as a society, we are going to need  a truly immovable, interdisciplinary, and holistic force of mankind to stop this disease.”


He implemented the use of DIY (Do It Yourself) Science to combat the complications faced by doctors during early diagnosis. Named first place debut winner from NIH for being one of the most promising technologies, he has been featured in 30+ news outlets.

(This 10th edition of the TEDxGateway sees over 20+ speakers from different walks of life sharing unique ideas that make them an inspiration the world over. Over 5500 attendees are slated to attend this feast of ideas and inspiration on December 2 at DOME @ NSCI Mumbai.)

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Published on: Friday, November 30, 2018, 03:37 PM IST