Whether we like it or not, technology is shaping the future of our society. Computers, smartphones, virtual reality systems, wearable technology, and smart devices have become the new norm. Our lives have become so intimately entwined in technology that we are not quite sure where we end and our tech begins.
While most modern tech is focused on communication, work or play, there have also been major advances in the medical field. Now, thanks to the dedicated work by the University of Melbourne and IBM Research-Australia, people suffering from epilepsy may just be one step closer to having a personalised, wearable seizure prediction unit.
69% of Seizures Predicted in Trials
By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence technology, researchers have created a processing unit that analyses brain signals from retrospective data. The data is recorded under the skull of patient and is then used to predict an upcoming seizer. According to the published results, the unit has been able to successfully predict 69 percent of all seizures across patients in the test program.
It is estimated that the wearable device could dramatically improve the lives of over 64 million people living with epilepsy worldwide. Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic disorders in the world, with very few patients able to manage conditions properly. As a neurological condition, epilepsy can be extremely debilitating. People living with the condition are prevented from doing simple activities such as driving, swimming and activities the rest of us take for granted.
If successful, the mobile prediction device has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people around with world, not only physically but financially and emotionally. The way the system works is by using the most advanced epilepsy EEG data set collected from electrodes directly inside the patients’ scull. The AI software is then able to process the data and adapt to the patient’s specific needs.
Wearable Prediction Technology
The algorithm used in the device is flexible enough for patients to be able to adjust the sensitivity of the unit and set how far in advance they want the warning to be. Previously, this type of prediction research required the use of high-powered computers and was something that those who enjoyed the betting NZ has to offer could only dream of. Thanks to IBM’s “brain inspired” computer chip, researches have the potential to create wearable device with a real-time warning system.
The computer chip, which is the size of a postage stamp, can run on the same power as a hearing aid which would certainly make it a candidate for wearable technology. The hope is that one day, the research will progress to a level where the technology plays a duel function in that it can warn patients of an upcoming seizer and at the same time, adapt to how their brains are changing over time.
As it stands, developing a reliable method to predict epileptic seizures for individual patients is incredibly difficult and complex. This is mainly due to the fact that epilepsy manifest differently in
each patient. It also produces individualised long-term changes in the brain. While the research is still ongoing, the results are extremely promising.
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