A new epilepsy warning device would save thousands of lives – ScienceDaily


The new high-tech bracelet, developed by scientists from the Netherlands, detects 85 percent of all severe epilepsy attacks in the night. This is a much better result than any other technology currently available. The researchers involved believe that this bracelet, called Nightwatch, can reduce the global number of unexpected deaths in epilepsy. The results of a possible trial in a scientific journal were published Neurology.

SUDEP, a sudden unexpected death of epilepsy, is the main cause of mortality in patients with epilepsy. People with intellectual disability and severe epilepsy-resistant therapy even have a 20% risk of dying from epilepsy. Although there are several techniques to monitor patients at night, many attacks are still delayed.

Consortium researchers therefore developed a bracelet that recognizes two essential characteristics of severe attacks: abnormally fast heart rate and rhythmic shaking. In such cases, the bracelet will send a wireless warning to caregivers or nurses.

The research team tested the bracelet called Nightwatch prospectively in 28 patients with mental disorders, on average 65 nights per patient. The bracelet was limited to the sound of an alarm in the event of a severe attack. Patients were also recorded to verify that false alarms or attacks that Nightwatch might have missed. This comparison shows that the bracelet detected 85 percent of all serious attacks and 96 percent of the worst (tonic clonic seizures), which is a particularly high estimate.

For the sake of comparison, the current detection standard was tested at the same time, a sensor part that reacts to vibrations due to rhythmic gestures. This represented only 21% of serious attacks. On average, the adjacent sensor remained unduly silent once every 4 nights per patient. Nightwatch on the other hand missed a serious attack on the patient once every 25 nights on average. In addition, patients did not bring much embarrassment from the bracelet, and carers were positive about the use of the bracelet.

These results show that the bracelet works well, says a neurologist and research director prof. Dr. Johan Arends. Nightwatch can now be widely used in adults, both in institutions and at home. Revenue expects this to reduce the number of cases of SUDEP by two thirds, although this also depends on how quickly and appropriately care providers or informal carers react to alerts. If used globally, it can save thousands of lives.

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