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Neurologists develop armband that warns of epileptic seizures

Health & Science
 The wireless armband detects a possible major epileptic seizure and transmits a warning to a caregiver. [PRNewsfoto/Empatica]

Dutch neurologists have conceived an innovation that aims to warn caregivers remotely of possible dangerous epileptic seizures being experienced by people with epilepsy during sleep including tonic and tonic-clonic seizures.

It aims to prevent the sudden and unexplained death of a person with epilepsy who was otherwise healthy (SUDEP).

NightWatch, a wireless armband developed by the SEIN and Kempenhaeghe epilepsy centres in The Netherlands, detects a possible major epileptic seizure and transmits a warning to a caregiver when the wearer is lying in bed. It consists of two main components; an armband and a base station.

The armband is worn on the upper arm with direct skin contact while the person is lying in bed. It monitors the wearer's heart rate and motion using a heart rate module and a 3-dimensional accelerometer. It also uses artificial intelligence to analyse data and detect any signs of a potentially severe seizure.

When the armband detects a possible seizure, it sends a wireless signal to the base station which is placed on a bedside table or somewhere within range.

The base station then triggers an audio and visual alarm to notify a caregiver, who can check on the person and provide help if needed. The alarm can also be forwarded to mobile phones and call systems for remote monitoring.

The innovation can be connected to the internet so that one can obtain a readout of the wearer's heart rate and motion data for each night. The device can detect 9 out of 10 types of seizures that could possibly cause SUDEP.

The comprehensive study, in which a large group of patients participated over thousands of nights, showed that the device detected 96 per cent of the most dangerous seizures and alerted caregivers in time.

The innovation aims to reduce the burden of caregivers and improve the quality of care being provided to people with epilepsy.

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