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Study examines pros and cons of seizure detection technology

A new UK study has assessed the current pros and cons of using seizure detection technology in the management of epilepsy.


Led by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the research examined 43 existing studies to review the quality of evidence supporting the use of devices that offer the potential to detect seizures and to help prevent injury and death.

Seizure detection devices can help to address the unpredictability of seizures by alerting those affected and carers ahead of time.

To be included in the review, the assessed devices had to have the potential for everyday use in a domestic setting.

According to the results, published in the medical journal Seizure, the majority of the devices assessed focused on changes in movement or physiological signs, and depended on an algorithm to determine cut-off points.

None of the devices were able to detect all seizures, showing the limitations of currently available technology, and false positives (when the alarm sounds in the absence of a seizure) were highlighted as a problem.

The researchers concluded: “Seizure detection devices are at a relatively early stage of development and, as yet, there are no large-scale studies or studies that compare the effectiveness of one device against others. The issue of false positive detection rates is important, as they are disruptive for both the patient and the carer.

Nevertheless, the development of seizure detection devices offers great potential in the management of epilepsy.”