Microsoft Band finds employment in helping epilepsy sufferers

(Image Credit: Microsoft

Despite rumours of the demise of the Microsoft Band, the original wearable is being employed to aid epilepsy sufferers in predicting upcoming seizures and help to ensure their safety.

A new program called MyCareCentric is being used for the pioneering epilepsy research developed by a range of partners including Microsoft, the Epilepsy Care Alliance, the University of Kent in the U.K., Shearwater Systems, Graphnet, and Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. 

MyCareCentric makes use of the Microsoft Band's myriad of sensors to help doctors and sufferers collect data and further understand the condition. Data collected by the wearable includes heart rate, skin conductance, movement, and changes in body temperature and sleep patterns. 

Dr Christos Efstratiou, head of the University of Kent research team, said: “Wearable technologies have massive potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered. Coupled with advanced activity tracking algorithms, we are able to now monitor patients on a day to day basis. This will allow clinicians to better assess the effectiveness of medications, and enhance personalised care.” 

Through utilising Azure machine learning, MyCareCentric is able to detect abnormal changes in the body which occurs when the individual has a seizure and predict when one is about to occur. At the moment, seizures could occur any time and potentially somewhere which could prove fatal. This can be restrictive for sufferers as it could prevent them doing what they want in life through fear a seizure could happen, or they have to just take a risk at the concern of themselves, friends, and family. 

“The one key thing for me is about being able to have a safety net and a support system so I can actually regain my independence,” said epilepsy patient Sean Hamilton. “What tends to happen now, particularly if I am out on my own, is that I end up back in an ambulance or in A&E.  I hope to get better control of my seizures and ideally to get the life back that I used to have.” 

When a seizure is about to occur, alerts can be sent to loved ones and medical staff in preparation. The 24-hour monitoring of the Microsoft Band allows seizures to be tracked overnight while the wearer is sleeping and could otherwise have been missed. 

“This pioneering project has the potential to redefine the delivery of epilepsy care,” said Suzy Foster, Microsoft’s health and life sciences director. “It is so exciting to see how the latest developments in technology are being used to improve individuals’ treatment and quality of life. We are looking forward to the next phase, where our partners use their technology and market presence to roll out applications for other conditions and disease groups.” 

An estimated 600,000 people in the UK – almost one in 100 – are believed to suffer from epilepsy, and around 87 new diagnoses are made every day. The neurological condition costs the National Health Service £2bn annually to treat, with epilepsy leading to 3% of Accident and Emergency visits and a total of 1.3 million days in hospital a year. 

What are your thoughts on using the Microsoft Band for aiding epilepsy sufferers? Let us know in the comments. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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