A new mobile app has been developed by Japanese researches, giving epileptics prior warning of an oncoming seizure.
The app works through a remote sensor attached to the patient’s heart or collarbone area that monitors heart rate activity.
This technology is based on the idea that before seizures or convulsions, epileptics experience a deviation in nerve cell activity that then affects heart rate levels. By conducting similar tests on the normal heart rate, this variance is then processed as healthy or a danger to the patient.
If the patient’s heart rate is deemed irregular a warning signal is sent, via a vibration or noise, to alert the patient of an imminent seizure.
In test cases conducted by the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, five out of six patients were able to identify a warning signal before the seizure took hold.
Each of these patients received between a 30 second and several minute warning.
Although this technology is still only being used in ‘rest stages’ it is hoped the technology will advance to be conducted on patients in ‘active’ situations also.
Whilst there are applications for smart phones that detect seizures already, these only alert delegated ‘careers’ of the patients, in order to combat dangers associated with seizures. What this app does, is take it a step further by alerting the patients themselves beforehand, allowing them time to find a safe space and avoid risk of subsequent damage caused by seizures.
Developers state the technology would be available from around 10,000 yen ($A110) making an affordable price for peace of mind.
Over 50 million people, of all ages, suffer from epilepsy world-wide.