Avertus Inc., the biotechnology company founded by Drs. Peter Carlen and Berj Bardakjian, has been developing new wearable technology that can improve seizure control. Their innovative headset contains sensors that can continuously monitor electrical activity from ten different brain areas using electrodes placed on the scalp (a technique known as electroencephalography, or EEG). The information is sent wirelessly to laptops, smartphones or tablets and monitored using special computer programs. The headset can also be linked with a cell phone camera or webcam to provide a video synced with the brain activity recording.
The goal of this technology is to possibly predict (or at least identify) when a seizure occurs and send an alert to the individual or his/her caregivers. This might allow the person with epilepsy to prepare for the upcoming seizure, which may prevent falls and other injuries that often occur during seizures. Being able to track when seizures occur can also help people with epilepsy maintain more accurate seizure diaries. In addition to being used at home, there are other potential uses for this headset in hospitals and clinics. It can be used to monitor brain activity when hospital units and research labs are closed, and it can also be used for long-distance telehealth diagnosing. For example, a person with epilepsy living in a remote region of Ontario could upload their data to a doctor in Toronto, who could monitor their brain activity in real-time and provide a diagnosis. This headset may also provide valuable information to doctors and pharmaceutical companies about seizures and the response to treatment in a person’s natural environment.
A clinical trial using this headset has just started in Vancouver, and the headset should be on sale to the general public by the summer of 2017.