Epileptic Episodes Can Be Predicted with an Earpiece Seizure Sensor
A team of epileptologists, or seizure disorder experts, from the University Hospital Bonn, in association with Cosinuss—a technology company that specializes in wearable tech—have developed EPItect, an earpiece seizure sensor meant to be worn as a hearing aid and functions alongside a smartphone to forewarn the wearer of an impending seizure.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by unprovoked recurring seizures, which can include sensory disturbance, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. Seizures usually occur due to a sudden increase of electrical activity in the brain. Monitoring uncontrolled epileptic epsiodes entails an overnight hospital stay while connected to an electroencephalography device to measure brainwave activity.
EPItect works by detecting signs that indicate an imminent seizure, such as an accelerated heart rate and increased frequency of certain movement patterns, e.g. getting up and down for no real reason, buttoning and unbuttoning a jacket, twitching, lip smacking, and momentary syncope. The information is sent to a smartphone that is keyed into a central database that matches the signs with its algorithm. Once confirmed as a positive sign, an alert is sent to the patient, family members, and the physician.
Seizures can occur while asleep. Hence, EPItect can help physicians accurately keep track of the frequency and severity of seizures, and tailor medications so that the most effective treatment can be used to help curb seizures, which can cause cardiac arrest and other serious complications and injuries.
The team of scientists has managed to pare down the earpiece seizure sensor into an earbud. Work is undergoing to further decrease the gadget size and advance it into clinical trials for the purpose of monitoring epileptic episodes to help decrease seizure attacks.