Johns Hopkins uses Apple Watch to help patients with epilepsy

A smartphone app is being used by 500 epileptic patients nationwide for a Johns Hopkins research study aimed at better understanding seizure activity and ultimately, warning patients about oncoming seizures.

The study's participants are using the EpiWatch app on Apple's Watch to share data with researchers using the ResearchKit platform to compile and study information, according to Fast Company article. Seizure detection depends on a combination of built-in sensors and an awareness test users can tap into if they think such an event might be occurring.

The researchers hope that using the app will allow those with epilepsy to ultimately be more active in managing the disease.

"[The Watch] had all the same kinds of sensors that people had been investigating, but also has a really rich user interface, so we started thinking creatively about how to use that," he said.

The study, announced last fall, is the first of its kind regarding epilepsy. Crone told Fast Company that a dependable approach to detecting and possibly preventing seizures remains to be developed despite emerging technologies and scientific advancements.

That, he believes, has the potential to change with EpiWatch.

"A seizure detector might encourage patients ... to go out and do things by themselves maybe that they wouldn’t otherwise do, or maybe their parents would feel more comfortable leaving them alone, or maybe their spouse would be able to leave them alone," Nathan Crone, a neurology professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Fast Company. "That could affect quality of life in a big way."

For more information:
- read the Fast Company article