New High-Tech Epilepsy Device Detects Seizures 85% Accuracy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbances, loss of consciousness, and convulsions. There is also abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

 

  • Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages
  • Seizures are recurrent and unprovoked
  • It is a spectrum condition with a wide range of seizure types that varies from person-to-person
  • The most serious complications are injuries and dying from seizures.
  • (SUDEP) is the leading cause of death in those with the condition. The risks of death are even higher in people who have therapy-resistant epilepsy and an intellectual disability.

 

 

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Epilepsy: Help Is On The Way

Scientists have developed a high-tech watch/bracelet called the Nightwatch. It detects 85 percent of all severe nighttime epilepsy seizures. This is a much higher percentage than similar devices on the market today.

Smartwatches are extremely popular and allow you to monitor such health metrics as your heart rate, sleep habits, and insulin levels.

Nightwatch immediately alerts caregivers to oncoming severe nighttime seizures. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the leading cause of death in those with the condition. The risks of death are even higher in people who have therapy-resistant epilepsy and an intellectual disability.

 

Epilepsy: Testing the Nightwatch

The Nightwatch was tested on 28 intellectually disabled participants who have epilepsy.

Each participant wore the bracelet for an average of 65 nights. The Nightwatch was set to sound an alarm if the person had a severe seizure. The participants were filmed to determine if there were any false alarms or seizures that the device failed to catch.

The Nightwatch works by recognizing two specific characteristics of severe epileptic seizures:

  • a very rapid heartbeat
  • rhythmic, jolting movements

When these are detected, the device immediately sends an alert to the person’s caregiver.

Nightwatch recognized 85 percent of all severe attacks and 96 percent of those that were the most severe.

Both scores are significantly higher compared to other devices. The current standard method of detection is a bed sensor that reacts to vibrations caused by rhythmic jerks.

The researchers also tested this sensor, for comparison, and it only detected severe seizures 21 percent of the time.

Overall data analysis indicated that the Nightwatch missed a serious attack once out of every 25 nights per patients. The bed sensor missed a serious seizure once out of every 4 nights per patient.

 

 

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The Nightwatch bracelet (pictured) could save thousands of lives.
Image credit: LivAssured

 

 

The Nightwatch is a valuable tool for people at risk of SUDEP.  Researchers believe it may reduce the number of SUDEP incidences by two-thirds.

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