Scientists Develop Epilepsy Warning Device

Scientists Develop Epilepsy Warning Device

By Agence France-Presse on 6:57 pm May 2, 2013.
Paris. A tiny device implanted in the brain of epilepsy sufferers has for the fist time been able to predict the onset of seizures, scientists reported on Thursday.

The potentially life-saving device works with electrodes that monitor electrical activity on the brain surface, they wrote in The Lancet Neurology.

The electrodes were connected to a second device implanted under the skin of the chest, which transmitted the data wirelessly to a hand-held device that calculated the probability of a seizure.

The device lights up in red for a high risk, white for moderate, or blue for low seizure probability.“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,” lead author Mark Cook from Australia’s University of Melbourne said in a statement.

It could also give epilepsy sufferers the freedom to take seizure-stopping drugs before the onset of an attack, rather than on a continuous basis.

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent seizures — anything from a brief lapse of attention or muscle jerks to severe convulsions.

The seizures are caused by excessive electrical discharges in a group of brain cells.

The biggest risk is from falls and injuries sustained when patients lose consciousness.

According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million people around the world, some 80 percent of them in developing regions, suffer from the disease.

The researchers said about 30 to 40 percent of patients are unable to keep their seizures under control with existing treatments. The new technology may be especially useful for them.

The team tested the implants on 15 patients and recorded relatively few adverse effects, which included infection and device migration.

The system correctly predicted seizures with a “high warning” sensitivity level greater than 65 percent in 11 of the patients, said a statement.

There was a high variability between seizure warning times, and the team said more work was needed.

“Our small proof-of-concept study shows that seizure prediction is possible and could lead to new therapeutic strategies and more independence for individuals with epilepsy.”

Commenting on the study, epilepsy experts Christian Elger and Florian Mormann of the University of Bonn Medical Centre described the outcome as a “major milestone.”

But they cautioned it was too early to determine whether the device performed well enough to find medical application.

“This will depend on how well patients tolerate false alarms or missed seizures, and will ultimately need to be decided on an individual basis,” they wrote.

“Nevertheless, the presented results suggest that at least some patients would view the warning device as beneficial.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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