Christian Meisel, MD, PhD: Treatment Landscape for Seizure Forecasting Devices


The neurologist from Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Berlin Institute of Health provided his insight on the reasons for the limited number of FDA-approved seizure forecasting devices.

"It is clear that even if you have something that statistically may predict a seizure, it’s not clear that this will be clinically useful. If there are a lot of false alarms, people may not take the device seriously anymore. In fact, it may be harmful.”

Seizure forecasting, or the ability to predict when a seizure is coming, provides a number of obvious advantages for patients with epilepsy and the clinicians that provide clinical care for them. For patients, having this ability may help them plan their day better, avoid certain activities, and alert caregivers to when a seizure may be oncoming. From a clinician perspective, seizure forecasting can help personalize a patient’s treatment regimen even further by catering certain therapies around time frames when seizures are more frequent.

Though the execution of this concept would resolve a number of issues, there are challenges associated with developing devices that do this forecasting. Sensitivity is among the more notable. If a device is too sensitive, it runs the risk of incorrectly predicting a seizure, which could lead to a false alarm and a call to 9-1-1. As a result, the treatment landscape for these devices remains relatively stagnant. Although, in February 2018, Empactica’s Embrace became the world’s first smart watch to be cleared by the FDA to monitor generalized tonic-clonic seizures and alert caregivers for help.

At the American Epilepsy Society (AES) Virtual Meeting, December 4–8, 2020, Christian Meisel, MD, PhD, presented his study which evaluated the use of multi-modal wristband data to forecast seizures. He sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss those data, what the treatment landscape looks like for these seizure forecasting devices, and the challenges associated with developing them.

For more coverage of AES 2020, click here.

Embrace by Empactica is the world’s first smart watch to be cleared by FDA for use in neurology. News release. Empactica. February 5, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020.
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