NHS could soon use smart outfit to diagnose epilepsy

时间:2019-02-28 11:17:03166网络整理admin

By Frances Marcellin   BioSerenity A shirt and cap that can diagnose epilepsy quickly and easily has been approved for use by European health services, including the UK’s NHS. Epileptic seizures are the result of excessive electrical discharges in the brain. The World Health Organization estimates that over 50 million people worldwide have the condition, including 6 million in Europe, making it one of the world’s most common serious neurological conditions. Brain implants and apps have been developed to warn of oncoming seizures. But to diagnose the condition, someone must typically have a seizure recorded by an EEG machine in a hospital – with sensors and wires attached to the scalp. “An EEG reading is at the heart of a reliable diagnosis,” says Françoise Thomas-Vialettes, president of French epilepsy society EFAPPE. But seizures rarely coincide with hospital appointments. “The diagnosis can take several years and is often imprecise.” Seizures are so difficult to record that 30 per cent of people with epilepsy in Europe are misdiagnosed. In developing countries that lack medical equipment and healthcare the situation is even worse. To make diagnosis easier, French start-up BioSerenity has developed a smart outfit called the Neuronaute that monitors people as they go about their day. The shirt and cap are embedded with biometric sensors that record the electrical activity of the wearer’s brain, heart and muscles. If a seizure occurs, the outfit can send an EEG recording of the brain to doctors via a smartphone. The outfit also records the wearer’s movements using an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. This provides information about what activities trigger someone’s seizures. Wearing the outfit at home lets patients and doctors gather precise readings over long periods of time. The outfit has recently successfully completed a six-month trial at the Brain and Spine Institute at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. On 16 May, BioSerenity announced that the outfit had received regulatory approval for use in hospitals in the UK and across Europe. This means that NHS hospitals will now be free to diagnose people using the Neuronaute if they wish. At least two hospitals in France – the Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Lille and the Hospices Civils in Lyon – are already set to try out the outfit in July and August. “The device looks promising,” says Louis Vallée, a neuropaediatrician at the Lille hospital. “We are considering whether it would benefit our young patients.” Thomas-Vialettes thinks that the Neuronaute will be particularly good for children. With existing diagnosis, children must spend 24 or 48 hours hooked up to an EEG machine during which there may be no seizure, she says. Hala Nasser, BioSerenity’s chief medical officer and a paediatrician specialising in child neurology at the Robert-Debré paediatric hospital in Paris, says that the team had children in mind when designing the outfit. Long-term recording outside of a hospital could lead to faster, more accurate and cheaper diagnoses, says BioSerenity CEO Pierre-Yves Frouin. He also hopes that applying machine learning techniques to anonymised data collected from many people with epilepsy will lead to new algorithms and biomarkers that will improve diagnoses even more. Clinical trials for these techniques are planned for 2017. The smart outfit could also help in developing countries. “In Africa, for example, there is a high rate of epilepsy and a lack of neurologists and equipment,” says Frouin. “Now we have a system that is cheap and easy to use by local nurses – and the results can be analysed remotely.” More on these topics: