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Nightwatch prevents deaths from SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). Image credit: LivAssured B.V.

Life-saving hi-tech Epilepsy warning device developed

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Smartwatches and wearables are extremely popular nowadays and many people use them. They have proven extremely useful in keeping track of our fitness regime. They can keep a record heart rate, sleep regime, footsteps, and much more.

The scientists have now gone another step and have introduced a new epileptic seizure detecting device named the Nightwatch. It is a high tech bracelet that alerts caregivers of severe nighttime seizures. The researches have published their results about this bracelet in the journal Neurology and say that it is an important tool for people with Epilepsy.

As per research, there are 70 million persons who suffer from Epilepsy worldwide. Out of these, nearly 12 million patients are expected to reside in India. Higher rates of Epilepsy are reported for the men, people amongst the rural areas, and amongst people with low socioeconomic status.

SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) is the major cause of death of people with Epilepsy. The risk is even higher in people with certain kinds of Epilepsy such as Therapy-resistant Epilepsy or people who have an intellectual disability.

Testing of the new device

Nightwatch was tested on 28 intellectually disabled people with Epilepsy. The participants were made to wear the watch for approximately 65 days. The watch gives out an alarm if the person experiences seizures. This was filmed to make sure that there were no false alarms or cases where seizures were not detected.

Nightwatch detects two main characteristics of severe epileptic seizures: A very rapid heartbeat, and Rhythmic and jolting movements

The device recorded 85% of all severe attacks and 96% of the most severe seizures. These scores were higher than the those recorded by similar devices. Another existing method of using bed sensors that responds to vibration reported only 21% of seizures.

The risk of death with Epilepsy

Not everyone who has Epilepsy experiences seizure. There are several different types of Epilepsy which are characterized by different factors. The diagnosis by the neurologist is based on the following factors: The type of seizures the person experiences. How many years old when the seizures started occurring. Which part of the brain is involved with the condition. What patterns are recorded.

Epilepsy is not fatal but in some cases, people who have a neurological disorder may be at risk. SUDEP is the main cause of death in Epilepsy. People who have poorly controlled Epilepsy are also at greater risk along with the patients with Therapy-resistant Epilepsy.

Nightwatch is a valuable tool for people who may be at risk of SUDEP. The alarm raised by the device can help caretakers or family member quickly respond to the seizure and save lives.

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