Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Minisensor is designed to warn of epileptic seizures

07.04.2016

For epilepsy patients and attending physicians, it has been a challenge to correctly assess the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures without inpatient recording equipment. A consortium coordinated by the epileptologists of the University Hospital Bonn is now developing a mobile sensor that can detect seizures. A warning signal is designed to summon relatives or attending physicians to provide timely help. The project "EPItect" will receive about two million Euro in subsidies from the German Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF) over the next three years. 635,000 Euro will go to Bonn. The consortium will receive support from the project sponsor VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.

Epileptic seizures can take very different courses: Some of those affected smack their lips; others engage in unmotivated fumbling with their clothing; others "go out" completely for a short time; and some actually suffer the muscular twitching that is considered typical.


Telemedicine for epilepsy patients: Prof. Dr. Christian Elger (right) and Private Docent Dr. Rainer Surges of the Department of Epileptology of the University Hospital Bonn with the minisensor.

© Photo: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn


The minisensor system in future use: The sensor is placed in the ear, and a smartphone transmits the data to a computer that analyses the signals to detect epileptic seizures.

© Photo: Rainer Surges

"It is not easy to classify all the symptoms correctly", says Prof. Dr. Christian E. Elger, Director of the Department of Epileptology of the University Hospital Bonn. Some of the seizures even occur during sleep; those affected often don't notice anything at all. "We estimate that the patients consciously perceive a maximum of half their seizures", adds Private Docent Dr. Rainer Surges, lead consultant at the Department of Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn and coordinator of the joint project.

This subjective misperception of the frequency and strength of seizures impedes both the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. The "thunderstorms in the brain" can usually be recorded clearly using electroencephalography, but that requires a hospital stay.

"Mobile measuring devices could be integrated much better into the everyday activities of patients", says Dr. Surges. Just such a mobile miniature sensor system is currently under development by a consortium led by the Department of Epileptology of the University Hospital Bonn. The project "EPItect" will receive about two million Euro in subsidies from the German Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF) over the next three years, including 635,000 Euro for the Bonn Hospital.

Minisensor measures symptoms in the ear

The company Cosinuss GmbH in Munich has already developed an epilepsy sensor, which is placed in the ear like a hearing aid. The measuring device will be miniaturized even further and optimized for this purpose. "In a preliminary study sponsored by the Marga and Walter Boll Foundation, we found that epileptic seizures can be detected very well via an accelerated pulse and certain patterns of movement", reports Dr. Surges. These symptoms can be measured by the little ear bud.

It is designed to transmit the signals via a connected smartphone to a central computer that continuously checks the incoming data for abnormalities and to warn patients, relatives, and attending physicians if necessary. This is because, in the worst case, epileptic seizures can end in death, for instance due to serious accidents with fatal injuries or due to cardiac arrest in the so-called sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

More autonomy and easier care for patients

The focus of the project is to develop such automated data and alarm chains and to test and optimize them together with epilepsy patients, relatives, and caregivers. EPItect is designed to make the lives of patients easier and provide assistance in many ways: "Epilepsy patients are often afraid of unpredictable seizures in public", reports Dr. Surges. They can be expected to regain more autonomy, if they can better estimate the current risk of a seizure.

Relatives do not have to be afraid that patients will not get care if a new seizure occurs, because a doctor could be called automatically. And the signals of the in-ear sensor give scientists much more reliable data. "With EPItect we can expect to make better diagnoses, because the frequency and severity of seizures can be recorded better", says Prof. Elger. The same goes for the development of new therapies: In clinical studies, the mobile mini-sensor can be used to provide more reliable data, for example regarding the drug that reduces the seizures most effectively.

The EPItect project includes not only adults but also younger patients. "Since many children and adolescents also suffer from epilepsy, we hope to achieve important progress for this target group using the sensor system", says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Stephani, Director of the Department of Neuropediatrics at the Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital in Kiel. The consortium plans to have the new technology available for patients and clinical trials in a few years. In the first step, a study will be done with selected patients. Later EPItect will be made available to a broader group of patients. "In epileptology we are just at the beginning of a breakthrough in mobile healthcare technologies and telemedicine", says Dr. Surges.

The partners in the EPItect consortium

The EPItect consortium consists of five institutions and two associated partners in Germany: Department of Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn, Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Technology ISST, Department of Neuropediatrics of the University of Kiel (UKSH), the North German Epilepsy Center in Schwentinental-Raisdorf, Cosinuss GmbH Munich, the University for Healthcare Professions in Bochum, and the Epilepsy Bundes-Elternverband e.V. [National Epilepsy Parents Network] in Wuppertal.

Contact for the media:

Private Docent Dr. med. Rainer Surges
Department of Epileptology
University of Bonn Medical Center
Tel. ++49-228-28714778
E-Mail: Rainer.Surges@ukb.uni-bonn.de

Johannes Seiler | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de

Further reports about: Epilepsy cardiac arrest epileptic epileptic seizures sensor system

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate
21.02.2017 | Radiological Society of North America

nachricht Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery
17.02.2017 | Children's National Health System

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>