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alert epilepsy

According to a recent proof-of-concept study published in The Lancet Neurology, a small device implanted in the brain has accurately predicted for the first time the onset of seizures in some adults who have epilepsy that doesn’t respond to drugs. More than 60 million people worldwide have epilepsy, 30–40% of these patients are unable get their seizures under control with existing treatments.The technology, developed by NeuroVista, is designed to detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain that precedes a seizure using electrodes implanted between the skull and brain surface which constantly monitor electrical activity (electroencephalography; EEG) data.

“Knowing when a seizure might happen could dramatically improve the quality of life and independence of people with epilepsy and potentially allow them to avoid dangerous situations such as driving or swimming, or to take drugs to stop seizures before they start, rather than continuously as at present”*, explains lead author Mark Cook from the University of Melbourne in Australia.

The electrodes are connected to a second device implanted under the skin of the chest which transmits this information wirelessly to a hand-held device that calculates the probability of a seizure. Three coloured lights warn patients of the high (red), moderate (white), or low (blue) risk of an impending seizure.

The Australian feasibility study included 15 people with focal epilepsy aged 20–62 years who experienced between two and 12 seizures per month and had not had their seizures controlled despite use of at least two anti-epileptic drugs.

During the first month after surgical implant, the system was set for detection only while EEG data containing a minimum of five seizures was collected and analysed to construct an individualised algorithm of seizure likelihood.

The researchers measured the system’s performance, clinical effectiveness, and safety for 4 months after implant and 4 months following activation. In this period of time the device correctly predicted seizures at least 65 per cent of the time.

Provided by: University of Melbourne

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