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Seizure detection: do current devices work? And when can they be useful?

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Purpose of Review

The unpredictability and apparent randomness of epileptic seizures is one of the most vexing aspects of epilepsy. Methods or devices capable of detecting seizures may help prevent injury or even death and significantly improve quality of life. Here, we summarize and evaluate currently available, unimodal, or polymodal detection systems for epileptic seizures, mainly in the ambulatory setting.

Recent Findings

There are two broad categories of detection devices: EEG-based and non-EEG-based systems. Wireless wearable EEG devices are now available both in research and commercial arenas. Neuro-stimulation devices are currently evolving and initial experiences of these show potential promise. As for non-EEG devices, different detecting systems show different sensitivity according to the different patient and seizure types. Regardless, when used in combination, these modalities may complement each other to increase positive predictive value.


Although some devices with high sensitivity are promising, practical widespread use of such detection systems is still some way away. More research and experience are needed to evaluate the most efficient and integrated systems, to allow for better approaches to detection and prediction of seizures. The concept of closed-loop systems and prompt intervention may substantially improve quality of life for patients and carers.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Zhao, X., Lhatoo, S.D. Seizure detection: do current devices work? And when can they be useful?. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 18, 40 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11910-018-0849-z

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  • Epilepsy
  • Seizure detection