Wearable device detects seizures in epilepsy patients

A wearable device capable of detecting and characterizing seizures could improve care for patients with epilepsy, according to a study published in Epilepsia.

Although “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy" (SUDEP) is rare, it remains a leading cause of death for epileptic patients. SUDEP often occurs at night, so monitoring a patient’s seizures could improve care, but current observation methods are impractical for daily use. In this study, researchers evaluated the feasibility of wearable devices in seizure monitoring.

Led by Giulia Regalia, PhD and Francesco Onorati, PhD, of Empatica in Milan, Italy and Cambridge, Massachusetts, researchers evaluated three wristband wearables that recorded electrodermal activity and accelerometer signals. The wristbands collected 5,928 hours of data from 69 patients, 22 of whom experienced 55 convulsive epileptic seizures. Results showed the wearable had high rates of sensitivity, detecting 95 percent of seizures, while sustaining a low rate of false alarms. Additionally, the wearables were able to identify characteristics about the seizures, helping clinicians pinpoint dangerous seizures.

"The present work provides significant improvements for convulsive seizure detection both in clinical and ambulatory real-life settings," saidRegalia. "Accurate seizure counts with real-time alerts to caregivers allows an early application of aid, which can be protective against SUDEP risk." She noted that the wristband detectors do not require caregivers to be near patients continuously, which could significantly improve patients and caregivers' quality of life.