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    Dec 2009


    Default Wristbands could be used to monitor seizures, and warn epileptics when they need help

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    In order to assess the severity of epileptic seizures, patients are typically required to have electrodes placed on their scalps, which are then wired into an electroencephalograph (EEG) system. Needless to say, this requires them to be at a hospital, and remain there until a seizure occurs. Scientists from MIT, however, have developed what could be a much more user-friendly alternative – a seizure-monitoring wrist sensor that is worn by patients as they go about their day-to-day lives. Not only has it been shown to measure severity as accurately as EEGs, but it could also let patients know when to seek post-seizure medical attention.

    The sensor was designed by a team led by Rosalind Picard, a professor of media arts and sciences. Originally, it was intended to identify the emotional state of autistic children, as their behavior is often not a true indicator of their mood. It did this by gauging the state of their sympathetic nervous system, as measured via the electrical conductance of their skin.

    In a study that the team conducted on seizure-prone autistic children at Children’s Hospital Boston, however, it was discovered that the higher a patient’s skin conductance during a seizure, the more time it took for regular brain wave activity to resume afterwards – brain waves are what an EEG measures.
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