Computer science researchers in the Central University of Kerala, Periya, (CUK) have designed a unique helmet equipped to predict epileptic seizures three to 10 minutes before the attack. This research is part of scholar O K Fasil’s PhD work.
“We have got the patent for the design of the helmet,” said Dr Rajesh R, associate professor and head of the department.
According to Dr Rajesh, he and his team, which includes assistant professor Dr Thasleema T M, have developed an efficient algorithm to epileptic signals from the brain, reported The New Indian Express.
A part of the research was published in ‘Neuroscience Letters’, which is a biweekly scientific journal for short articles on all aspects of neuroscience.
It could be extremely dangerous if a person has an epileptic seizure while driving, swimming, or operating machinery, and the helmet is extremely important to them. “But our helmet is wired to predict an attack at least 10 minutes before the seizure,” said Dr Rajesh, guide of Fasil.
The prediction at 10 minutes, however, could be less accurate.
“The best prediction comes three minutes before the seizure as the signals will be more intense,” he said.
As of now, patients have to go to the hospital for testing as anelectroencephalogram (EEG) machine, which detects electrical activity in the brain, is not portable. To read the signals, small metal discs or electrodes are attached to the scalp.
When Dr Rajesh was teaching at the Central University of South Bihar in 2016, he saw a man having an attack at Patna railway station. That is when he thought of making a seizure-predicting gadget.
“The man was travelling alone and no one knew what to do,” he said.
He started the research on it when he got a job at the CUK the same year. His team at the CUK is now working to embed all the sensors used in an EEG machine in a lightweight helmet, and the signals picked up by the helmet would be sent to a hand-held device or mobile phone.
“We have got the design and the algorithm. Now we will have to bring out the product,” said Dr Rajesh.