Apple Watch & ResearchKit epilepsy study concludes, gleans insight on seizure triggers

Posted:
in Apple Watch
A research study on epilepsy with the Apple Watch and ResearchKit at the core of the work has concluded, and is shedding light on seizure triggers, hopefully paving the way for better identification of precursors of the disruptive and dangerous event.




Over the course of the 10-month survey, participants tracked their seizures with an app custom built for the study. When participants felt a "aura" for the seizure building, they opened up the app, with then commanded the Apple Watch to record heart rate sensor and accelerometer data from the Apple Watch, plus gyroscope data from the iPhone for 10 minutes.

During the 10 minutes, the app promoted users to respond for reflex and awareness testing. Following conclusion of the seizure, study participants were surveyed about seizure type, aura, loss of awareness and possible seizure triggers.

Nearly 1500 seizures were recorded during the testing process.

Stress was linked to 37% of the seizure activity, with sleep deprivation accounting for 18%, menstruation for 12%, and over-exertion for 11%. Other notable triggers included diet, missed medications and fever or infection.

Defying conventional wisdom on epilepsy, seizure triggers did not depend on the type of seizure the participants reported.

"The data collected will help researchers better understand epilepsy, while helping people with epilepsy keep a more complete history of their seizures," said study author Gregory Krauss, MD. "The app also provides helpful tracking of seizures, prescription medication use and drug side effects -- activities that are important in helping people manage their condition."

"Our eventual goal is to be able to use wearable technology to predict an oncoming seizure," added Krauss. "This could potentially save lives as well as give people with epilepsy more freedom. The data collected in this study helps us take a step in that direction."

The study was originally announced in 2015, in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University and developer Thread Research. It launched in Sept. 2015, with 598 people ultimately coming on board with the study.

The full study will be published presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017. AppleInsider has requested a copy of the research following its publication for further examination.

ResearchKit was introduced in March 2015 as an iOS-based tool with which medical researchers can expand candidate pools and achieve more accurate results. One of the first integrations, a cardiovascular study conducted by Stanford University, saw more than 10,000 participants sign up less than 24 hours after its debut, a feat that would have taken a year under normal circumstances.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    Brilliant use of technology.


    "Defying conventional wisdom on epilepsy, seizure triggers did not depend on the type of seizure the participants reported."

    This really stands out to me. I guess doctors (along with what their patients "remembered" about their seizures) appear to have associated seizure types with triggers, but actual data collection proved this wasn't the case. A fantastic example of the types of things doctors can discover with ResearchKit and specialized Apps to collect data.
    patchythepirateStrangeDaysewtheckmanjony0
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Brilliant use of technology.


    "Defying conventional wisdom on epilepsy, seizure triggers did not depend on the type of seizure the participants reported."

    This really stands out to me. I guess doctors (along with what their patients "remembered" about their seizures) appear to have associated seizure types with triggers, but actual data collection proved this wasn't the case. A fantastic example of the types of things doctors can discover with ResearchKit and specialized Apps to collect data.
    It did to me as well.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 7
    calicali Posts: 2,965member
    Apple producing world changing technologies.

    Meanwhile "Apple doesn't innovate". 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 7
    cali said:
    Apple producing world changing technologies.

    Meanwhile "Apple doesn't innovate". 
    This kind of study is an excellent use of technology. Major kudos to Apple for doing it!

    But most of current complaints about Apple are not about their "lack of innovation", it's about abandoning existing users or getting sloppy in areas where they used to be world beating. They can be excellent at advancing in one area, like this one, but that does not do anything to correct letting the Mac Pro rust into obsolescence, or hanging users out to dry with nothing to base their technology decisions on.
    big
  • Reply 5 of 7
    Two-thirds of all epilepsy seizures can now be traced to four primary triggers: "Stress was linked to 37% of the seizure activity, with sleep deprivation accounting for 18%, menstruation for 12%, and over-exertion for 11%." These all appear to be instances that tax the individual's limits.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    cali said:
    Apple producing world changing technologies.

    Meanwhile "Apple doesn't innovate". 


    Yeah, just because there is no shiny new toy that has people camping outside Apple Stores for days, Tim Cook has done nothing of note. Never mind the fact that CareKit and ResearchKit are major undertakings under his watch.

    And the Apple Watch is going to go from strength to strength. As a personal anecdote, my wife and I have become really conscious about exercising and health since we started using the watch. More than the notifications and the convenience of answering calls without the phone, it is the activity features that appeal to us.

    And the AirPods are another knock out of the park for me. Another one under Tim's watch.

  • Reply 7 of 7
    Apple has barely tapped the potential of the research and care apps...

    Lifestyle medicine has long been ignored by the healthcare and medical research industries -- largely because there is no money in it.  As Michael Greger says:  "Whose going to pay for it?   Big Broccoli?".  So, while there is no money for lifestyle medical research, lifestyle medicine takes money out of the deep pockets of the healthcare industry:  "There's no money in healthy patients and there's no money in dead patients.   The money is in the sick patients".

    Yet, credible evidence shows that 70% of our chronic diseases could be eliminated with healthy lifestyles....
    ...  And the Apple ecosystem could be the foundation to launch the research needed to expand lifestyle medicine into the the healthcare industry...   It can provide credible evidence and tracking of diet, exercise and stress reduction -- and help fine tune which of those things do what kind of good - because each helps in its own way and even withing each there are subsets.

    I am hopeful that our nation takes full advantage of what these technologies can offer.   Currently we spend nerly $3Trillion a year on health care.   More medicine and more procedures will only make that worse.
    big
Sign In or Register to comment.