Implantable Device Successfully Predicts Epilepsy Seizures

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News Medical reports that Seattle, Washington-based NeuroVista and professors at the University of Melbourne, led by Professor Mark Cook have collaborated to successfully develop and test in humans a device potentially capable of predicting epilepsy seizures.

Professor Cook, Chair of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and Director of Neurology at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, states that:

Knowing when a seizure might happen could dramatically improve the quality of life and independence of people with epilepsy.  The problem is that people with epilepsy are, for the most part, otherwise extremely well.  So their activities are limited entirely by this condition, which might affect only a few minutes of every year of their life, and yet have catastrophic consequences like falls, burns and drowning.

According to News Medical, the device itself combines a first device (developed by NeuroVista) implanted between the skull and brain surface and a second device (developed as part of the collaboration) implanted under the chest.  The second device transmits a signal recorded by the first device to a hand-held monitor which, in real-time, provides the likelihood of a seizure in the hours ahead.

The press release states that the study was conducted over two years and included 15 people having epilepsy aged between 20 and 62 years.  The system correctly predicted high warning seizures 65% of the time.  Eight patients had their seizures predicted successfully between 56 and 100% of the time.

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