Epilepsy Technology Research Update – Drs. Peter Carlen and Berj Bardakjian

One of the ways to improve clinical epilepsy care is through the development of epilepsy monitoring technologies. More and more, there is a drive to develop more advanced technology to detect and monitor seizures. This would provide a great advantage, as people with epilepsy using these technologies can be warned about an upcoming seizure. But what if a technology can go beyond warning of a seizure and actually stop it?

This is the goal of Dr. Peter Carlen and Dr. Berj Bardakjian’s biotechnology company Avertus Inc. They have developed a working headset that can be worn comfortably, while monitoring a person’s brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG) recordings. The headset is linked to either a computer or cell phone, which can then recognize when a seizure is about to occur and send a notification.

Ongoing improvements to the device include decreasing noise (background signals) during a person’s everyday movements, improving quality of the EEG signal and making it comfortable to wear during sleep. With these improvements in progress, Avertus Inc. has now received approvals to start testing the device on people with epilepsy and also to start selling headsets for clinical trial and non-medical uses by the end of this year.

Future plans include going beyond detection alone, to creating a headset that can detect when a seizure is about to occur and deliver brain stimulation to the area of the brain causing the seizure. With this type of technology, individuals can non-invasively stop a seizure before it even begins.

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