April 29, 2019

Wireless Sensor Would Give Epilepsy Patients More Freedom

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Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice. The system is meant to free patients from being wired to a hospital monitor for days on end waiting for seizures to occur.

A team of electrical and computer engineering majors at Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering are developing an instrument to gather signals from a patient’s brain and send them to the computer wirelessly.

They hope their effort, part of the seniors’ capstone design requirement, will someday aid patients with epilepsy of the sort that medications can’t help, but may require surgical removal of small parts of the brain where seizures originate. First, doctors must figure out which parts are relevant, and to do so requires implanting electrodes that collect data during seizures.

“That means patients need to be in the hospital for a long enough period to get the large sample size of seizures they need to understand where they’re coming from,” junior Aiden Curtis says. “There are a lot of costs associated with that, including psychological costs. Patients have to stay connected, and can’t move around. They can’t go home.”

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