NUST professor develops EPIC device to monitor epilepsy patients

January 20, 2023

Naveed Ahmed

EPIC is a wearable band that uses surface electromyography (SEMG) data to identify an epilepsy attack from a patient’s muscle activity. This device is a low-cost solution developed by Pakistani researchers for local patients. When the patient experiences an epileptic episode, the device, connected to a smartphone app, alerts the caregiver and indicates the patient's location so that caretakers can immediately assist the patient.

Dr Sajid Gul Khawaja, Assistant Professor at the NUST College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (CEME), has developed this device. He said that NUST is pleased to develop a new system for the intelligent monitoring of epilepsy known as EPIC (epilepsy care). This technology's intellectual property is safeguarded and leased to RiseTech (Pvt) Ltd.

Dr Sajid said that the designed system has the potential to bring about a significant change in Pakistan's biomedical devices sector, which would be of great value to the people of Pakistan. He said that about 50 million individuals are diagnosed with epilepsy annually throughout the globe.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a lack of a reliable healthcare system contributes to a 90% rise in the prevalence of epilepsy in developing nations. Moreover, it is estimated that 70% of those diagnosed with epilepsy may be able to live seizure-free lives if provided with appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Pakistan is home to roughly 5% of the global epilepsy population or about 2.5 million individuals.

Dr Sajid said many people with epilepsy find it hard to live their everyday lives normally because seizures can strike without warning, creating a sense of unpredictability. These people often have physical wounds, including brain trauma, tooth damage, burns, broken bones, and immersion. “If people are alerted and prepared, they can avoid these situations. Patients who know what to do during a seizure may be prepared with first aid or take precautions to prevent damage,” Dr Sajid said.

“Our solution includes a bracelet that the patient may wear to keep track of the seizure activity, as well as a set of helpful mobile and online apps for the caretaker and doctor. Moreover, the gadget monitors muscle activity to distinguish an epilepsy attack from regular activity. It uses sophisticated signal processing and machine learning algorithms,” he added.

However, the band's primary function is predicting seizure, recording data, and alerting the caretakers. Therefore, it is used to keep track of the patient's abnormal/seizure activity while they go about their typical day. “The cloud-based application also keeps track of the number, length, and timing of seizures, providing valuable data for the clinician. The software may be downloaded from the Google Play Store,” he added.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk