Popular Science

May 9, 2012

Wristband Sensors Can Detect, and Possibly Predict, Life-Threatening Seizures

Share

Some seizures briefly incapacitate, while other seizures can be deadly. Knowing the difference is obviously of grave importance, but figuring out which is which is difficult. So a team of MIT Media Lab researchers have developed a wristband that can tell the difference between the more benign breed of seizure and the one that might kill you, and may even be able to predict seizures before they strike.

The wristbands work by measuring skin conductance, or the ease with which electrical current can pass through the skin. Skin conductance changes for a variety of reasons mostly tied to how much you’re sweating. And purely by accident, one of the researchers found that skin conductance spikes during and even before a seizure.

Related Articles

An Implantable Glucose Sensor Could Help Diabetics Stay HealthyNew Sensors Directly Track the Brain’s Chemical Messengers for the First TimeGold Nanosensors Can Be Implanted in the Body to Continuously Monitor for Blood Clots and Trace Proteins

Tags

Science, Clay Dillow, autism, epilepsy, health, medical sensors, medicine, seizures, wearable sensorsFurther experimentation and data gathering told the researchers a few more things related to skin conductance. For one, there’s evidence that what defines how deadly a seizure might be isn’t its duration or some other outward characteristic, but how quickly the brain bounces back afterward. Deadly seizures are associated with suppressed brainwave activity that lingers after the seizure is over. If the brain doesn’t return to normal quickly, the situation can quickly turn critical.

After equipping 11 children under evaluation for brain surgery with their wristbands, the team was able to record data from a total of 34 seizures. It found that the higher the skin conductance during the seizure, the longer it took brain function to return to normal afterward. In other words, high conductance appears to be linked to deadlier seizures. They also found that their wristbands sometimes picked up on seizures faster than EEG.

There’s not enough data yet to say outright that the wristbands can predict seizures ahead of time, though some data suggest they can. But the findings could have serious applications for those suffering from autism, epilepsy, or other conditions that make them prone to seizures. Wristbands like these could monitor skin conductance around the clock for signs of potentially deadly seizures, even calling for help should a particularly nasty seizure strike. More at New Scientist.

[New Scientist]

Share





 
 

 
 

What It’d Look Like if Star Wars Spilled Into the Real World – Wired

AT-AT Thomas Dagg Thomas Dagg Lightsaber Thomas Dagg Thomas Dagg Vader Thomas Dagg Thomas Dagg Han Solo Thomas Dagg Thomas Dagg Star Destroyer Thomas Dagg Thomas Dagg Tauntaun Thomas Dagg Thomas Dagg Yoda Photo: Thomas Dagg TIE...
by Brian Montgomery
0

 
 
 

Lucasfilm disputes brewery’s ‘Star Wars’ beer name – CNNMoney

For Lucasfilm, the force was too strong in the name of Empire Brewing Co.’s ‘Strike Bock’ beer. A small upstate New York brewery may soon feel the full force of the “Star Wars” legal department. Lu...
by Brian Montgomery
0

 
 
 

This is what a ‘Star Wars’ blaster bolt would look like in real life – CNET

Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET The “Star Wars” laser is pretty great: instead of bullets, it fires laser bolts — short bursts of laser that can be used as a weapon. Unfortunately, the fictional device would...
by Brian Montgomery
0