Neurology News

June 25, 2015
Samantha J. Peterson

Learn about an app designed to help paralyzed patients, a system developed to provide head impact data, and a new use for an antiepileptic drug.

An innovative app for stroke victims and their families, a mouthguard that provides real-time data, and a new, FDA-approved use for an antiepileptic drug made the news this week.

A total of 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.1 A new app was designed to help patients paralyzed by a stroke communicate with loved ones. Using a special Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), paralyzed patients unable to speak, such as stroke victims, can communicate with friends and family. The BCI transmits brain activity data to a mobile device. The data is processed and the I.am.here app displays the patient’s emotion in human language. The app can store a history of conversations for up to 30 days so users can see full information on past dialogs.2

Approximately 446,788 sports-related head injuries were treated at U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2009.3 A new system allows staff on the sidelines to view real-time data on player head impacts. Functioning like a standard “boil and bite” mouthguard, the Vector Mouthguard contains a microchip that can measure skull movement. The system monitors the linear and rotational impacts above a certain threshold of all players wearing an active mouthguard. Data is transferred to a user interface in real time and saved on a secure cloud-based system. Not meant as a diagnostic device, the system measures the location and level of any given impact, which helps medical staff, trainers, and coaches determine if a player can safely remain on the field.4

Between 2.2 and 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy and about one-third of people with epilepsy live with uncontrolled seizures because no available treatment works for them.5 This week the FDA approved Fycompa for adjunctive treatment of primary generalized tonic-clonic (PGTC) seizures in 12-year-old and older epilepsy patients.6 The drug was first approved in 2012 for adjunctive treatment for partial-onset seizures with or without secondarily generalized seizures in patients with epilepsy aged 12 years or older.7 Fycompa is the only antiepileptic drug to target the AMPA receptor.

References:

1. American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – At-a-Glance. 2015. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_470704.pdf. Accessed 24 June 2015.

2. I.am.here. http://www.iamhereapp.com/#app-block. Accessed 24 June 2015.

3. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Sports-related head injury. Aug. 2014. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Sports-Related%20Head%20Injury.aspx. Accessed 24 June 2015.

4. i1Biometrics.com. Tackling sports injuries head on. http://i1biometrics.com/TacklingSportsImpactsHeadOn.pdf. Accessed 24 June 2015.

5. Shafer PA. About Epilepsy. Jan 2014. http://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics. Accessed 24 June 2015.

6. FDA. NDA 202834/S-005 (FDA approved labeling text dated 6/19/2015). http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/202834s005lbl.pdf. Accessed 24 June 2015.

7. FDA. FDA approves Fycompa to treat seizures. 24 Oct 2012. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm325038.htm. Accessed 24 June 2015.