Japanese researchers have developed a new app which alerts epileptics 30 seconds before a seizure. Smart phone users benefit from this app, which would enable the patient to take precautions and avoid physical injury.
Researchers from Kyoto University developed the system and have entered into a partnership with Kumamoto University and Tokyo Medical and Dental University to get the device commercially produced by 2020.
Abnormalities in 5 out of every 6 cases were detected about 30 seconds and several minutes before a seizure during the tests conducted on patients at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
The system has been tested on patients at rest and the effective use of it needs to be tested on patients involved in active movements and other activities.
The system uses a small sensor placed close to the collarbone or the heart to detect changes in the heartbeat and alert the person about the impending seizures. The device detects changes in nerve cell activity that affects the autonomic nerves that control the heart to predict a seizure.
The detected changes transmit the signals to the smart phone, which uses a special application to analyse them and determine if the heartbeats are abnormal. Normal measurements and the profile built into its database are used as reference.
When the heartbeat deviates from the normal baseline, the system alerts the user through a sound or a vibration, giving him at least half-a-second to several minutes in advance.