World-first study predicts epilepsy seizures in humans

May 2, 2013

A small device implanted in the brain has accurately predicted epilepsy seizures in humans in a world-first study led by Professor Mark Cook, Chair of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and Director of Neurology at St Vincent's Hospital.

"Knowing when a seizure might happen could dramatically improve the quality of life and independence of people with epilepsy," said Professor Cook, whose research was today published in the international medical journal, Lancet Neurology.

Professor Cook and his team, with Professors Terry O'Brien and Sam Berkovic, worked with researchers at Seattle-based company, NeuroVista, who developed a device which could be implanted between the skull and to monitor long-term in the brain (EEG data).

They worked together to develop a second device implanted under the chest, which transmitted recorded in the brain to a hand-held device, providing a series of lights warning patients of the high (red), moderate (white), or low (blue), likelihood of having a seizure in the hours ahead.

The two year study included 15 people with epilepsy aged between 20 and 62 years, who experienced between two and 12 per month and had not had their seizures controlled with existing treatments.

For the first month of the trial the system was set purely to record EEG data, which allowed Professor Cook and his team to construct individual algorithms of seizure prediction for each patient.

The system correctly predicted seizures with a high warning, 65 percent of the time, and worked to a level better than 50 percent in 11 of the 15 patients. Eight of the 11 patients had their seizures accurately predicted between 56 and 100 percent of the time.

Epilepsy is the second most common neurological disease after stroke, affecting over 60 million people worldwide. Up to 40 percent of people are unable to control their seizures with existing treatments.

"One to two percent of the population have chronic epilepsy and up to 10 percent of people will have a seizure at some point in their lives, so it's very common. It's debilitating because it affects young people predominantly and it affects them often across their entire lifespan," Professor Cook said.

"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."

Professor Cook hopes to replicate the findings of the study in larger clinical trials, and is optimistic the technology will lead to improved management strategies for in the future.

Explore further: Implanted device predicts epilepsy seizures in humans

Related Stories

Implanted device predicts epilepsy seizures in humans

May 1, 2013
For the first time, a small device implanted in the brain has accurately predicted the onset of seizures in some adults who have epilepsy that doesn't respond to drugs, according to a small proof-of-concept study published ...

Surprising results from study of non-epileptic seizures

December 2, 2012
A Loyola University Medical Center neurologist is reporting surprising results of a study of patients who experience both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures.

Response to first drug treatment may signal likelihood of future seizures in people with epilepsy

May 9, 2012
How well people with newly diagnosed epilepsy respond to their first drug treatment may signal the likelihood that they will continue to have more seizures, according to a study published in the May 9, 2012, online issue ...

Researchers discover new non-invasive method for diagnosing epilepsy

August 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—A team of University of Minnesota biomedical engineers and researchers from Mayo Clinic published a groundbreaking study today that outlines how a new type of non-invasive brain scan taken immediately after ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain

July 20, 2017
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a "sensory map" within their brains, according to new research.

Faulty support cells disrupt communication in brains of people with schizophrenia

July 20, 2017
New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia. When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia ...

Scientists reveal how patterns of brain activity direct specific body movements

July 20, 2017
New research by Columbia scientists offers fresh insight into how the brain tells the body to move, from simple behaviors like walking, to trained movements that may take years to master. The discovery in mice advances knowledge ...

Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons

July 20, 2017
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have opened a black box in the brain whose contents explain one of the remarkable yet mysterious facts of life.

Speech language therapy delivered through the Internet leads to similar improvements as in-person treatment

July 20, 2017
Telerehabilitation helps healthcare professionals reach more patients in need, but some worry it doesn't offer the same quality of care as in-person treatment. This isn't the case, according to recent research by Baycrest.

New study reveals contrasts in how groups of neurons function during decision making

July 19, 2017
By training mice to perform a sound identification task in a virtual reality maze, researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) have identified striking contrasts in how groups of neurons ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.