A Headset for Detecting Seizures

One of the ways to improve epilepsy care is to develop more advanced technology to detect and monitor seizures. This technology would warn people with epilepsy about an upcoming seizure. But what if the technology could go beyond warning of a seizure and actually stop it?

Brain stimulation to stop seizures requires that a patient's brain activity be monitored constantly using electroencephalography (EEG), and that brain stimulation only be applied when a seizure is about to occur. For this to happen, there has to be a way to monitor brain activity (using EEG), while a computer program recognizes signs that a seizure will occur and begins the stimulation.

Dr. Peter Carlen and Dr. Berj Bardakjian – co-founders of the company Avertus Inc. – have developed a wireless headset (cap) that a person with epilepsy can wear comfortably to monitor their brain waves using EEG. This information is then sent directly to a computer or mobile device, which can be reviewed and provide seizure warnings whenever needed. In the near future, ways of aborting or interfering with the seizure onset will be developed using feedback from the headset to deliver not only a warning to the patient/caregivers, but also deliver an anticonvulsant signal such as a form of sound, or direct brain stimulation via head electrodes or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

In terms of recent progress, the home monitoring headset dry electrodes have been modified for improved signal quality and comfort. The headset will soon be tested on patients in an epilepsy monitoring unit and will be sold for human laboratory testing. Following a more extensive clinical trial with planned completion in 6 months, application will be made to make this a clinically applicable device for patients with epilepsy.

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