Researchers out of Ben Gurion University of the Negev have developed a wearable device, providing people with epilepsy an effective tool to help them prepare for and even prevent potential seizures.

While there may be somewhat of a protocol in place for those who deal with epilepsy, and therefore seizures, having a consistent, preventative plan of attack would be vital. Researchers out of Israel’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev have developed a new device that is reported to be quite promising concerning this very need, and they plan to begin clinical trials by the end of the year 2020.

The Epiness device is being commercialized via another startup company known as NeuroHelp. Dr. Oren Shriki from Ben Gurion University’s Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences is credited as the scientific founder of NeuroHelp.

Though current seizure-awareness devices are able to alert others when a seizure is taking place, Epiness is a new creation in that it can provide a warning nearly an hour in advance, providing the individual time to prevent a seizure from even happening. Coupled with machine-learning algorithms, the Epiness device provides the means for EEG monitoring of one’s brain. In essence, the device monitors the individual’s brain activity and gives notifications through a handheld device such as a smartphone.

According to Mayo Clinic, “an electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that detects electrical activity in your brain using small, metal discs (electrodes) attached to your scalp. Your brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when you’re asleep.” It’s estimated that well over 60 million people suffer from epilepsy around the globe.

Dr. Shriki elaborated, “Epileptic seizures expose epilepsy patients to various preventable hazards, including falls, burns and other injuries. Unfortunately, currently there are no seizure-predicting devices that can alert patients and allow them to prepare for upcoming seizures. We are therefore very excited that the machine-learning algorithms that we developed enable accurate prediction of impending seizures up to one hour prior to their occurrence. Since we have also shown that our algorithms enable a significant reduction in the number of necessary EEG electrodes, the device we are developing is both accurate and user friendly. We are currently developing a prototype that will be assessed in clinical trials later this year.”

Chairperson of NeuroHelp, Dr. Hadar Ron, adds, “Epilepsy that is not adequately controlled by medication is prevalent, amounting up to 30% of epilepsy cases, and therefore, an accurate, easy to use seizure predicting device is a highly necessary unmet medical need. Current seizure alert devices can detect seizures while they are happening, and most of them depend on changes in movement, such as muscle spasms or falls. Epiness is unique in that it can predict an upcoming seizure and allow the patients and their caretakers to take precautionary actions and prevent injuries. It is also the only device that is based on brain activity rather than muscle movements or heart rate. We are confident that Epiness will be a valuable tool in the management of drug-resistant epilepsy.”

The Epiness product undoubtedly has the potential to revolutionize epilepsy treatment. With people now being able to preemptively treat a seizure, they will be a lot more at peace in their daily routine.