SALT LAKE CITY - Predicting the exact moment when someone with epilepsy will have a seizure is almost impossible, but that could all change with a new device being made in Utah.
Mark Lehmkuhle, The CEO and CTO of Epitel says, "The holy grail of epilepsy is being able to predict when you’re going to have your next seizure [...] and so we want to create an hourly forecast of your probability of having a seizure."
Lehmkuhle says his company made a fully functional device called Epilog that works alongside an app to read brainwaves.
Epilog is worn on the forehead, just below the hairline, or behind the ear. It connects to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth and sends seizure reports to an app. Doctors can use the data to adjust a patient's treatment and lifestyle schedule and hopefully improve their day to day life.
While this technology has the potential to change a lot of people's lives, it does have a few hurdles to overcome first.
Epilog needs to undergo clinical trials and be approved by the FDA before it can be used by anyone.
For now, it's just being tested at The University of Colorado, Boston Children's Hospital, and the NYU Langone Medical Center.
Dr. Daniel Freedman, a Professor in the Department of Neurology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, is one of the people testing Epilog.
He says, "One of the biggest problems with epilepsy is predictability. You don’t know if tonight is the night you can go out with your friends because you might have a seizure."
This is where the Epilog device has the potential to help.
"We want to give people the power of knowing how many seizures they’re having so that they can plan their day with certainty," says Lehmkuhle.
Potential aside, the people testing it say there's plenty of room for improvement.
Freedman says, "The nature of the patch is that it has to be applied roughly near where you think the seizures are coming from. That may be known in some patients, but for other patients, you might not know ahead of time what side of the brain the seizures are coming from, and that may lead to patients having to wear more than one patch."
Freedman says, from his experience, the Epilog devices don't communicate too well with one another, which is an issue when they want to synchronize the data.
"The Epilog device is a great first step. Obviously like all technology, it would be better if it was smaller, had longer battery life," says Freedman.
In the current model that's being tested, the battery lasts about 60 days, but Lehmkuhle says he wants to make it last longer and be able to charge wirelessly.
Freedman says, "If you had a device that told you, 'looks like you’re all clear for the next several hours', hopefully, that will give someone a lot more independence and comfort."
If you'd like to support Epilog, you can donate to their crowdfunding page here.