Ann Conkle
Apr 3, 2012

Early warning system for seizures cuts false alarms

Created at Apr 3, 2012, 8:02am PDT

In a third of cases, medication cannot stop epileptic seizures. One solution is to shoot a short pulse of electricity to the brain to stop the seizure just as it begins. But implants designed to do this have many false alarms, triggering unneeded treatment. To solve this, Johns Hopkins biomedical engineers have devised new seizure detection software that, in early testing, significantly cuts the number of unneeded pulses of current. Sridevi V. Sarma, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, is leading this effort to improve anti-seizure technology that sends small amounts of current into the brain to control seizures. Her new software was tested on real-time brain activity recordings from four patients with drug-resistant epilepsy who experienced seizures while being monitored. Sarma's team reported that its system yielded superior results, including flawless detection of actual seizures and up to 80 percent fewer alarms when a seizure was not occurring.