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Cloudy with a Chance of Seizure

Credit: Rainer Fuhrmann/Adobe

Credit: Rainer Fuhrmann/Adobe

By Katrina Dell

Just as we check the weather forecast to plan our daily activities, people with epilepsy will soon be able to check personalised seizure forecasts to determine their risk and take necessary precautions.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Imagine waking up each day and wondering if you will have a seizure, knowing it could strike you down at any time or place. Maybe you will black out while you are swimming, crossing a busy street or holding a small child.

This frightening uncertainty is the reality for many people living with epilepsy. A device or app that could provide a real-time indication of the likelihood of a seizure would not only allow people to take precautionary measures to avoid injury but it could also be used to automate treatments and therapies. Led by Prof Mark Cook, a team of researchers at the University of Melbourne are developing tools for seizure forecasting to help improve the quality of life of people living with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterised by recurrent seizures. It affects approximately 50 million people worldwide.

There are millions of neurons in the brain that communicate via electrical impulses to convey messages, regulate body systems and produce movements, thoughts and feelings. A seizure is essentially the manifestation of an electrical glitch in the brain. They occur when normal patterns of activity are disrupted by abnormal and excessive neuronal activity.

The way a seizure presents can vary greatly depending on the affected regions of the brain. For example, a person having a seizure could convulse and lose...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.