For researchers of epilepsy and the people who suffer from it, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) remains somewhat of a mystery. In many ways, this phenomenon resembles a silent killer disease.
While SUDEP is a category, not a disease, its abrupt occurrence, unknown cause, and the lack of awareness surrounding it make SUDEP extremely difficult to manage. Often, victims don’t show any evidence of having a seizure close to their time of death.
As researchers fight to better understand what causes SUDEP, there are things people with epilepsy can do to help prevent seizures and reduce their risk. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, some of these include:
- Consistently take the right dosage of your seizure medication
- Gain insight into what triggers your seizures and adjust your lifestyle and environment accordingly
- Analyze your stress level, identify specific stressors, and find ways to better manage them
- Inform family and friends about what to do in the event of a seizure
- Have a seizure response plan and consider a seizure alert monitor for potential seizures during the night
Perhaps the most efficient way to heed all of those recommendations is to use a device that performs nearly all of them.
Embrace: The Do-It-All Seizure Monitor Watch
A lot of wearables monitor sleep and physical activity, but the Embrace Watch uses physiological data to track convulsive seizures.
The device features a plethora of sensors — an accelerometer, a gyroscope, an electrodermal activity sensor, and a peripheral temperature sensor — that all work together to give the user more insight into their epilepsy. Users receive feedback on their habits and behavior through the app, which helps them find patterns and better understand their day.
While the science behind the Embrace Watch is complex, Empatica’s main goal is to make recognizing, responding to, and addressing epileptic seizures easier. As it monitors your nervous system, the device has an alert platform set up to address abnormal readings. Here’s how it works:
- Empatica’s mobile app continually analyzes information from the device’s sensors through Bluetooth so it can detect unusual patterns or events in real-time
- In the event of something like convulsive seizures, the app delivers an alert notification to your list of caregivers
- Everyone on your list receives both an automated call and message asking if they can help. The app goes down the line of caregivers until someone responds
Although the specific cause of SUDEP is unknown, studies have revealed several possible causes, such as breathing loss, heart issues due to a seizure, interrupted brain function, and others.
Some of these problems are irreparable for a caregiver, but having someone available at night to administer first aid, place someone experiencing a seizure on their side, and make sure their breathing isn’t impaired could help limit the risk of SUDEP, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.
With the Embrace Watch’s monitoring and notification system, this assistance is possible.
Empatica markets Embrace as an analog-like watch, but it’s really more of a band. That’s no slight — the device simply doesn’t have a typical watch face, and it attaches to both the wrist and the ankle.
Available in five colors, the device has interchangeable straps, features a splashproof case, and costs $249.00. If you can’t afford an Embrace Watch, Empatica has a buy one, give one program that works with the Epilepsy Foundation to help distribute devices to those in need.