New epilepsy app tracks seizures

A new smartphone app aims to help people with epilepsy by allowing them to record and track their seizures.

The app has been launched by support group, Epilepsy Ireland, and is available free of charge on Android phones. It is aimed at people with epilepsy and the parents of children with the condition.

Around 37,000 Irish people, including 10,000 children, have epilepsy, which is characterised by recurring, unprovoked seizures. These are caused by excess electrical activity in the brain. An estimated 12,000-15,000 of those affected have regular seizures.

The app will allow users to save details of their seizures, for example, when they occurred, how long they lasted and events suspected of triggering them. The app will also allow users to record videos. All of this information can be shared with the person's medical team, which could lead to a more accurate diagnosis, better treatment and better management of the condition.

"Epilepsy is a very individual, unpredictable and complex condition and an accurate diagnosis often depends on eyewitness accounts and precise recollection of events before, during and after the seizure. Being able to record and share important information, especially videos of seizures, with medical professionals through the app can be the key to receiving an early diagnosis," explained Epilepsy Ireland deputy CEO, Peter Murphy.

He pointed out that different people respond to epilepsy medications in different ways and the app could play an important role in recording how well a person is doing on a particular drug, and what the effects are if medication is changed.

"This type of information is critical to the process of bringing the person's seizures under control. Using the information to look for patterns or seizure triggers can also lead to invaluable lifestyle advice to help control seizures," Mr Murphy noted.

He said that Epilepsy Ireland and medical professionals working in this field have always encouraged the use of diaries to record seizure information, however because people tend to have their smartphones with them at all times, recording this information should now be ‘easier, faster and more convenient'.

Another feature of the app is an emergency text message that the user can send with one touch to a family member or friend if they feel that a seizure is about to happen or in the immediate aftermath, when they may be confused, exhausted or in need of help.

Epilepsy Ireland is planning to add more features to the app in the future, such as reminders about prescriptions that are about to expire. It also hopes to launch versions of the app for the iPhone and Windows Phone in the near future.

The app has been developed for Epilepsy Ireland in association with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services. It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store by searching for ‘Epilepsy Ireland' or click here for more information.



[Posted: Mon 30/03/2015]

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