April 4, 2023

Study Taps into Technology to Help Epilepsy Patients

Article published by The Mirage

A new study by Mater Research and The University of Queensland will investigate whether smartwatches could help predict seizures for people living with epilepsy.

Looking specifically at how the brain and body react to stress in epilepsy, the study has the potential to help detect and predict seizures better.

Honorary Professor of Neurology at Mater Research and Queensland Brain Institute, Aileen McGonigal, who will lead the study, says chronic stress is known to increase seizure frequency in some people with epilepsy, compromising their quality of life.

“Epilepsy is characterized by the tendency to have recurrent seizures – caused by intermittent disturbances of brain rhythms – that can provoke falls, lack of awareness, even convulsions,” Dr. McGonigal said.

“By tracking these brain rhythms, combined with the heart rate variability and electrodermal activity picked up by smartwatches, we hope to capture signatures to individual personalized stress responses and possibly even personalized seizure information.

“These ‘stress signatures’ could be used to refine wearable devices for seizure detection and even alert a patient to periods of high seizure risk.”

The study brings together researchers in biology who are specialists in stress, as well as a clinical team of neurologists and engineers specialized in the detection of the electrophysiological signature of seizures.