EpiWatch App for Epilepsy Patients May Improve Lives

New App monitors seizures

Do you or someone you care about suffer from epilepsy? Here’s a new app that may make a difference in their lives.

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According to a news release from John Hopkins Medical School, a new app is available for free for epilepsy sufferers to help researchers better understand epilepsy and develop new methods for monitoring and managing the disorder.

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain caused by abnormal neural activity that disrupts normal brain function resulting in seizures. These seizures can vary in their type and severity, some manifesting as convulsions and other abnormal movements, confusion, or loss of consciousness. As a result, people with epilepsy experience debilitating quality of life issues.

The new app―called EpiWatch―is a novel app designed to aid epilepsy research by collecting data from patients with epilepsy before, during, and after their seizures. The goal of this app is to shed new light on how to monitor and manage patients who have seizures―a condition that affects more than 2.5 million people in the United States.

"Physicians often ask patients to record their seizures. But that can be hard, especially when a patient loses consciousness. EpiWatch collects data that helps researchers better understand epilepsy while helping patients keep a more complete history of their seizures," says Gregory Krauss, professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "The app also provides helpful tracking of seizures, prescription medication use, and drug side effects—activities that are important in helping patients manage their condition."

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According to the news release, John Hopkins researchers reveal that:

“…the EpiWatch is most appropriate for patients with epilepsy who may experience an "aura" that signals an oncoming seizure. When this warning symptom occurs, the user—or a caregiver—can tap an icon on the watch face to activate the app. The app then starts recording heart rate and movements. The app also requests patient participation in a specialized memory game to evaluate patient responsiveness during the seizure. It is the first medical research app to include a cognitive test of this nature.”

Experts hope that the EpiWatch will lead to the development of the ability to detect seizures and alert emergency personnel and concerned parents who may not be able to monitor their child 24/7.

"We foresee the app giving some parents the confidence to allow their children to play on their own," Krauss says. "For some adults, using it might allow them, for the first time, to live safely alone."

For more about how new technology can make a difference in your health, here is how your Apple Watch can alert you when something is not right with your health.

Reference: John Hopkins News “Johns Hopkins researchers to use Apple Watch data to study epilepsy

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