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Epilepsy and seizures

Epilepsy, or seizure disorder is a physiological condition that produces seizures that affect several mental and physical functions of the person affected. If a person has two or more unprovoked seizures then he (she) is considered to have epilepsy.

A seizure is characterized by a brief, strong surge of electrical activity that affects part or all of the brain. On average one in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime in their lives, and they can last for some few seconds oar few minutes. Symptoms are diverse: convolutions, loss of consciousness, blank staring, lip smacking, jerking movements of arms or legs.

The prevalence of epilepsy disease and its social and economical impact

Epilepsy is one of the most common serious brain disorders, with a prevalence of about 1% of the world population. In Europe nearly six million people are presently affected and fifteen million will have epilepsy at some time of their lives[1]. Epilepsy can affect anyone, at any age, in any circumstance of life, having profound physical, psychological, and social consequences. Currently nearly 30% of these people cannot be treated by the state of the art therapeutics, based on pharmacological anticonvulsive medication or surgical removal of a small portion of the brain, and are entirely subjected to the sudden and unforeseen seizures that have a strong impact on their everyday life with temporary impairments of motoricity, perception, speech, memory or consciousness. The economical and social direct and indirect costs of this disease are immense.

Control of epileptic seizures, quality of life improvement, risk control

This project is directed to the life improvement of these 30% of epileptic patients, these millions of people that have their daily lives severely constrained by the possibility of occurrence of seizure at any time, anywhere, like a bolt from the blue, that deserve to have a chance of preserving they safety, sociability and privacy by providing them a device that can predict in an effective way – with sufficient time in advance – the coming of the next seizure. They are then empowered to take action to preserve themselves from injury situations and social exposition.

The possibility to predict seizures may also be used to conceive some sort of brain stimulation in order to disarm the seizure occurrence. But there is not yet enough knowledge about the seizure formation and about technologies for brain stimulation such that it could be envisaged to build such a device in the near future. If successful, the EPILEPSIAE will build a fundamental part of the knowledge and technology to conceive an automatic closed loop seizure control system.

In EPILSPSIAE the loop is closed by the patient itself, with its conscious behaviour, and/or by the doctor in clinic environment.

This project is directed to the life improvement of these 30% of epileptic patients, these millions of people that have their daily lives severely constrained by the possibility of occurrence of seizure at any time, anywhere, like a bolt from the blue, that deserve to have a chance of preserving they safety, sociability and privacy by providing them a device that can predict in an effective way – with sufficient time in advance – the coming of the next seizure. They are then empowered to take action to preserve themselves from injury situations and social exposition. The possibility to predict seizures may also be used to conceive some sort of brain stimulation in order to disarm the seizure occurrence. But there is not yet enough knowledge about the seizure formation and about technologies for brain stimulation such that it could be envisaged to build such a device in the near future. If successful, the EPILEPSIAE will build a fundamental part of the knowledge and technology to conceive an automatic closed loop seizure control system. In EPILSPSIAE the loop is closed by the patient itself, with its conscious behaviour, and/or by the doctor in clinic environment.

[1] European Declaration on Epilepsy, Epilepsia, 44 (Supl. 6):2-3, 2003pilepsy can be treated by medication or surgery. The other one third must live all their lives with seizures. It is for these that the EPILEPSIAE project is directed.

For more information about epilepsy visit the site http://www.epilepsy.org/ . More information is also available at http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/ at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilepsy or at http://www.epilepsy.com/.

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