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Empowering Patients
First Time Study of Novel Seizure Metric

February, 2013 – CHORI Clinical Scientist Rachel Kuperman, MD, along with her co-investigators at UC Berkeley, has garnered a Clinical and Translational Science Institute grant in order to investigate the effectiveness of a novel approach for the detection of seizures in patients with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition in which individuals suffer from unprovoked seizures that can occur at any time.  According to the Epilepsy Foundation, one in 10 adults will experience a seizure in their lifetime.

“Once you’ve had a seizure, your chances of experiencing a second seizure is anywhere between 30 and 50 percent,” says Dr. Kuperman. “Repeated seizures can cause physical and mental trauma and are highly debilitating, but we currently have no method for real time seizure counts. This pilot study will hopefully provide the foundation to move forward with the development of accurate seizure detector and alarm.”

“This pilot study will hopefully provide the foundation to move forward with the development of accurate seizure detector and alarm.”

The current gold standard for detecting seizures, video electroencephalogram (VEEG), requires hospitalization and can only be done at specialized centers, limiting its availability as part of standard care.

"What this means is that the only guide physicians currently have for making treatment decisions, like increasing or decreasing medications or imposing driving restrictions, is the seizure count of patients themselves, or their caregivers," says Dr. Kuperman. "Parental and patient reports, however, significantly underestimate the true seizure burden."

This leaves physicians relying on poor quality data to make clinical decisions.

Dr. Kuperman hopes to solve this problem with her new study, which will help determine if eye movements can predict seizure events. Dr. Kuperman will use an advanced eye-tracking platform to continuously capture eye movements before, during and after a seizure to develop seizure detection algorithms that will ultimately be used for a seizure alarm.

“We hope that the data will identify oculometric variables and changes in those variables that are predictive of seizure onset,” says Dr. Kuperman. “An accurate real time measure of seizures will empower patients and allow physicians to use accurate data to guide patient management.”

The investigation is designed as a pilot study that can be used to calculate the sample size required for a definitive trial including a larger population and multiple seizure types.


Monday, May 20, 2013 3:20 PM

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