Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Night Watch

Wearable device that detects epileptic seizures to alert night carers

27 November 2018

Night Watch

Epileptic seizures are caused by temporary glitches in brain activity and can take a variety of forms – from momentary losses of awareness to uncontrolled convulsions with loss of consciousness. Occasionally such seizures result in inexplicable death – an outcome called sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), most likely to occur at night. While methods exist for monitoring patients as they sleep – including bed sensors that detect movement – many nighttime seizures are missed. The Nightwatch (pictured) is a wearable device designed to detect unusually fast heartbeats and jolting movements, both indicative of an epileptic attack, and to wirelessly send an alert to carers. In recent overnight trials the device was shown to detect 85 percent of serious seizures and 96 percent of the most severe convulsions (tonic-clonic seizures), out-performing standard bed sensors. For epilepsy patients and their carers, then, the Nightwatch may provide more peace of mind at night.

Written by Ruth Williams

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