A Wearable Device that instantly detects Epileptic seizures




It is quite important to be always alert when it comes to averting eminent dangers, but it takes on a new twist of events when epilepsy is involved. There is a medical condition associated with epilepsy known as (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) SUDEP, where an individual who has had a successive cases of mal seizure for the past year is more likely to pass on suddenly after a seizure ends. Some statistics indicates that 1 in 1000 people with epilepsy die each year from cases of SUDEP. Rosalind Picard, a research scientist at MIT has been approaching the problem by testing a Wearable Device for bio-monitoring known as the “Embrace” which can detect seizures before they happen.

The research started in the year 2007 under various auspices, as something similar to an emotional Fitbit for children on the autism spectrum, whose external behaviour appear quite different from their internal state. It previously recorded electro-dermal process (EDA) by monitoring skin conductance. Skin conductance is an easy way to observe sympathetic nervous system. Rising EDA without similar physical motion is connected with a rapid increase in emotional stress. Ming-Zher Poh, Picard’s student designed the device to be put on a child’s wrist, where it can alert teachers or parents when the kid started winding up to a meltdown. It can even built the sensor package into supple sweatbands for maximum comfort and a minimum intrusiveness.

What sets the Wearable Device “Embrace” ahead is that it doesn’t depend on electrodes to measure the neurological processes associated with a seizure. During extreme seizure, some regions in the brain experience rising activities. This situation is quite common to most SUDEP cases. When the device’s sensors pick up a change rate in EDA, the nerve impulses originating under the scalp cannot pick them up. Increasing rate of EDA and increasing physical motion could show a start of a potentially life-threatening seizure, and that’s what the Embrace is expected to detect.

Findings show that the greater a patient’s EDA during a seizure, the worse the disruption of their brain waves. Embrace device can monitor the signs of a severe seizure, and after detecting the right combination of signals from the wearer, it vibrates. If the signal goes off but the patient doesn’t respond immediately, like what might happen if they have fallen unconscious after a great mal seizure, the wearable device can send an alert signal to a designated person who can then rush to the wearer’s call. The idea here is that timely reaction is crucial, and getting another human in the room is quite important so that he/she can make sure SUDEP does not strike again.

Researchers are also using a variety of the wristbands with an array of sensors, called the E4, to monitor epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Embrace wristband offers the chance of a time-stamped, bio-informatics data stream, and a body of data from to aid in the treatment of epilepsy. Hopefully, the final version of Embrace wristband will improve human life.