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Image still of Dominique Eden

[Video] Improving diagnostic yield of long-term epilepsy monitoring

Seer Medical is a research-driven MedTech company with a mission to empower people to take better control of their health.

Research Review is a series where we pull apart peer-reviewed journal articles published by Seer Medical’s research team so you can better understand how the science translates into real-life impact.

In January 2021, Epilepsia published “Cycles‌ ‌of‌ ‌self-reported‌ ‌seizure‌ ‌likelihood‌ ‌correspond‌ ‌to‌ ‌yield‌ ‌of‌ ‌diagnostic‌ ‌epilepsy‌ ‌monitoring‌.” By documenting a person’s seizure for long periods of time, cycles emerge that can be used to identify when a person is at high risk of having a seizure. This article demonstrates that by scheduling long-term epilepsy monitoring during these “high risk” periods, we see an improvement in diagnostic yield.

Dominique Eden, a data scientist on Seer Medical’s research team, sat down with us to help explain:

  • What this article is about
  • How this research helps people who are having seizures
  • The implications of not having a seizure during monitoring
  • The current focus of Seer Medical’s research
  • The benefits of a diary-based seizure risk forecaster
  • The reliability of self-reported seizure diaries used to gauge seizure likelihood
  • What attracted her to a research role in epilepsy at Seer Medical

Transcript

“Hi, my name is Dominique and I work as a Data Scientist at Seer Medical.”

What article will you be reviewing today?

“The article I’ll be reviewing today is “Cycles of self-reported seizure likelihood corresponding to yield of diagnostic epilepsy monitoring”, which was published in Epilepsia in December of last year.”

What is the article about?

“So, we’re wanting to address the uncertainty of living with epilepsy and so, what this study does is looks at the time, or predicts the time at which someone might be more likely to have a seizure and schedule a video EEG at that time.”

How does this article help people who are having seizures?

“So this can help people by avoiding the need to repeat monitoring. So what we see is people coming in and not experiencing a seizure, and so by scheduling the monitoring at a time at which someone is most likely to have a seizure, we’re much more likely to get that activity that we need to make a diagnosis.”

What impact does not having a seizure during monitoring have?

“For the person undergoing monitoring, it’s costly in terms of time, wellbeing, but more importantly, delayed or misdiagnosis. So, if that person doesn’t get the diagnosis that they need, they may not get the medication that they need which impacts quality of life. That person may need to go back to their referrer, get a second referral, and come back in for a second round of monitoring. Even the healthcare system is affected in terms of cost and that’s why it’s really important for us to schedule monitoring at a time that someone is most likely to have a seizure.”

Can you tell us about a project you are currently working on?

“So the larger body of work that we’re working on at the moment is a Seizure Forecaster, and we’re looking at developing that and implementing it in the Seer App.”

What are the benefits of a diary based forecaster?

“So, similar to a weather forecaster we would forecast seizures, and so people can then see when they might be at higher risk or lower risk of seizure. Diary based forecasts require people to log their events via an app, which is very simple. It’s not a lot of effort and it’s non-invasive, that’s the most important part, so it requires no surgery, and from the seizure diaries, we’re able to forecast and give people a tool to understand their epilepsy more, to know when they might be at high risk of a seizure.”

Are self-reported seizure diaries reliable?

“People aren’t historically always great at reporting their seizures. They might miss a seizure now and again, but what we see in developing the forecast is that that doesn’t matter. The longevity of the data is what matters most for us and having missed a couple of seizures is okay.”

Why were you drawn to work in epilepsy?

The reason that I was attracted to Seer Medical was because we can translate the research that we do into a clinical setting very quickly. So, my previous research roles were in fields where research isn’t translated for 10, 20 years. Whereas here we talk to the patients, we’re involved in their lives. We know what’s going on, and I just feel that we can help them very quickly and have an impact on their lives.”