By Martyn Halle | The Mail On Sunday
Diagnosing epilepsy could become easier thanks to an electronic ‘smart suit’ that can be worn at home or under everyday clothes and constantly monitors the body’s vital signs.
The long-sleeved shirt and cap are fitted with sensors that record muscle and brain activity and communicate with a smartphone app so doctors can track minute changes as soon as they occur.
Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder affecting 600,000 Britons . It causes recurring seizures that last between seconds and a few minutes.
At present diagnosis can be carried out only in hospital using specialist electroencephalography (EEG) machines that measure brain waves, and relies on the patient having a seizure while ‘hooked up’. If no seizure occurs, the process can take months.
The Neuronaute suit, developed by French company BioSerenity, monitors wearers outside hospital as they go about their day-to-day activities. It can also be used to assess patients to find out what is triggering a seizure.
The shirt and cap are linked to a smartphone via Bluetooth, where an app processes and analyses the data. Even when the wearer is not experiencing a seizure, data about body temperature and activity is uploaded and stored.
The cap features built-in EEG sensors for brain activity, eye movement detectors and a thermometer. The shirt has sensors to record muscle and nerve activity, check movement and measure breathing, heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
Pierre Frouin, chief executive officer of BioSerenity, said: ‘Normally in hospital the patient has to keep quite still while they have an EEG, so to be able to monitor accurately while the patient is moving is a significant development. It gives doctors the confidence that the readings they have are truly accurate.’
Designers believe this will be particularly useful in helping children, who may find it difficult to be attached to an EEG machine for up to 48 hours at a time. Frouin added: ‘We aren’t just recording that someone has had an epileptic seizure, but building a pattern of information which will identify what may have caused it. We will know which area of the brain is affected, and what type of seizure they were having.
The Neuronaute suit has received regulatory approval for use in hospitals in the UK and across Europe after a successful six-month trial at the Brain and Spine Institute at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris.
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Thanks to BioSerenity for creating the Smart clothing; Martyn Halle for writing the article; Daily Mail and The Mail On Sunday for committing their resources to publishing the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to include the picture, text, and links in this post.