APR 07, 2016 2:49 PM PDT

Mini-Sensor to Detect Seizures at Home

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
Could new seizure sensor provide peace of mind for epileptic patients?
Researchers in Germany recently received a two million Euro subsidy from the German Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF) to develop a mobile minisensor to detect seizures. The project, named “EPItect,” aims to make epileptic seizure episodes easier to spot, treat, and study.
 
Epileptic seizures manifest in a variety of ways and are not always so simple to detect. Some patients, for example, express movements that may be slight, such as the smacking of lips or fumbling of objects. Others may look like they’re zoning out, but in fact, may be experiencing a “thunderstorms in the brain,” according to Christian Elger, Director of the Department of Epileptology of the University Hospital Bonn.
 

"It is not easy to classify all the symptoms correctly,” Elger added. While some caregivers are able to spot seizures and provide prompt help, as much as 50 percent of the time, the patients don’t perceive the seizures consciously, thus making detection quite difficult. In some cases, epileptic seizures can be deadly, so knowing when these episodes occur is extremely critical.
 
The newly planned seizure minisensor will be based on an already existing epilepsy sensor, developed by Cosinuss in Munich. This device resembles a hearing aid and can measure accelerated pulse and movement patterns consistent with epileptic seizures. The signals are then transmitted via a smartphone to a central computer that alerts doctors and caregivers if seizure episodes are occurring. The device will be tested in adults as well as younger patients, in whom epilepsy can also strike.
 
With the grant, the team at the University Hospital Bonn hopes to reduce the size of the sensor even more, and optimize it for home use. Importantly, they also have to implement the downstream components of the sensor, making sure that systems are in place for alerts. Because the goal of the minisensor is to provide more autonomy for the patients and their caregivers, having a reliable alert system is absolutely crucial.
 
In addition to detecting and treating the seizures more effectively, EPItect can also provide a wealth of data, which can be mined for future epilepsy research and treatment. "With EPItect we can expect to make better diagnoses, because the frequency and severity of seizures can be recorded better,” said Elger.
 
Refering to the EPItect project, the researchers said that “we are just at the beginning of a breakthrough in mobile healthcare technologies and telemedicine.”

Additional source: EurekAlert!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 11, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 11, 2019
Can optical illusions help diagnose autism?
At first glance what do you see -- a young woman? Or perhaps a smooth jazz artist? This classic optical illusion occurs ...
JAN 07, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 07, 2020
Saliva Test for Early Detection of Mouth and Throat Cancer
“OPC is one of the fastest rising cancers in Western countries due to increasing HPV-related incidence, especially ...
JAN 04, 2020
Immunology
JAN 04, 2020
Why Do Skincare Products Sometimes Cause Rashes?
Chemicals commonly found in skincare products are intended to avoid interactions with the part of the immune system resp ...
MAR 12, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
MAR 12, 2020
Molecular biomarker in saliva predicts childhood obesity
Epigenetic changes modify how genes are switched on and off, without altering DNA’s genetic code sequence. These e ...
MAR 19, 2020
Infographics
MAR 19, 2020
All You Need to Know About Coronavirus (CoVID-19)
A new coronavirus, first identified in China in December 2019, has caused an outbreak of respiratory illness that was re ...
APR 07, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 07, 2020
Computers Predict Diabetes with 94.9 Percent Accuracy
"Currently we do not have sufficient methods for predicting which generally healthy individuals will develop diabet ...
Loading Comments...