Smart clothing to monitor epilepsy

Anya had her first epileptic seizure at the age of eight and a second at 18. She paid little attention to her condition until, one day, she had a further seizure – this one severe – while she was carrying her two-month-old baby. Now, Anya wants her loved ones to know when and how to react if she has a seizure. This will soon be made possible by wearing smart clothing designed by BioSerenity, who reported Anya’s story. WEMU clothing is set to go on sale to hospitals (who will lend it to patients) in late 2015.“Recording an epileptic seizure currently requires hospitalization in a specialist centre with the necessary equipment. But this isn’t always enough.”The company, which was founded in 2013 and is based at the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, has developed a prototype consisting of a synthetic shirt embedded with sensors which measure heart rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen levels. It has built-in three-dimensional movement sensors to track the patient’s position. The system also comprises a cap embedded with electrodes to record brain activity. All this data can detect a fall or seizure – and raise the alarm at the first signs.74 per cent of French people think that smart clothing is a form of technology that could improve the everyday lives of people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders.Less than 10 per cent of patients are observed having a seizureThe set of physiological observations is transmitted to a smartphone app in real time. The app processes the data and shares it in the cloud, where it can be accessed by the doctor in charge of the patient at any time – providing a wealth of useful information.Epilepsy affects around six million people in Europe, but only half of these people receive adequate treatment. This is firstly due to the fact that epilepsy is particularly difficult to diagnose. “It currently requires hospitalization in a specialist centre with the necessary equipment, and can take up to 48 hours.” Despite this, “it isn’t always enough to record a seizure,” according to BioSerenity. Ultimately, it is thought that less than 10 per cent of patients are actually observed having a seizure, which are unpredictable and often rare. Conversely, studies have shown that 20 per cent of patients who have been diagnosed by a neurologist are not actually epileptic.Providing data for researchAnalysis of reactions to administered treatment helps diagnosis, prevention of seizures and provision of personalized treatment. WEMU offers thousands of patients the promise of a better life and is also furthering scientific progress – BioSerenity wants to make the data collected available in anonymous form to researchers at the Brain and Spine Institute.If they manage to overcome technical obstacles to manufacturing, the company is then banking on obtaining CE marking to conquer a wide market. It then plans to adapt the system for other conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even schizophrenia. According to a survey carried out by the non-profit Mutual General Foundation in late August, 74 per cent of French people think that smart clothing is a form of technology that could improve the everyday lives of people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders.To go furtherA brief history of intelligent clothing
The electronic tattoo: a new form of medicine
Bioserenity’s website
ICM’s website

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