Epilepsy and the Internet: Controlling Your Own Life
Epilepsy is a chronic disease of the nervous system, which is manifested by seizures, often by nothing, at first glance, not provoked. Today in the world about 50 million people suffer from epilepsy. Epilepsy, due to its unpredictability, limits a person’s life to a large extent and creates many problems for him. Patients diagnosed with epilepsy are not hired for all jobs, even training in some universities is not designed for such people. They are not allowed to drive, and in addition, they are very dependent on stressful situations.
In 2008, 9-year-old Kassidy Megan, who was diagnosed with epilepsy by doctors, came up with Purple Day – “Purple Day.” Since then, on March 26, the whole world has expressed support for people suffering from this disease.
Epilepsy and mobile phones
Scientists and doctors emphasize the possibility of developing systems and programs that would allow patients to independently control their illness, wherever a person is at that moment. And the use of smartphones in our technological time may be the best option for people with epilepsy. The average price of modern mobile phones continues to decline every year, while their capabilities, on the contrary, are growing. Mobile phones have long been used to monitor the health of patients with other medical conditions. And the Internet allows the patient and the doctor to get instant access to the medical history, get medical screening data, analyze the patient’s condition diary, if the latter keeps it, and makes it possible to carry out all the necessary calculations.
Rumors of an increased risk of epileptic seizures in cell phone owners are unfounded. Moreover, in January 2017, the results of observations of epileptic patients with and without telephones were published. It turned out that smartphones not only do not increase the likelihood of a seizure, but even slightly reduce it – in particular, this has been proven for cases of drug-resistant epilepsy.
An analysis of mobile applications for epileptics, conducted in 2014, showed that almost half of them (46%) provide the patient with general information about epilepsy. 39% report in detail that they can be a trigger for an epileptic seizure. 32% provide information on medications that are commonly used to prevent and treat epilepsy.
But these patients are much more interested in the functions that make it possible to control their condition. 39% of apps have a medication reminder function. 64% of them have the ability to keep a diary of their condition and register seizures. 18% of apps even allow video recording. We add that the vast majority of epileptic apps are free.
By the way, mobile applications related to epilepsy have appeared for doctors, laboratory assistants and medical students. The iBraiNEEG and iBraiN2 programs are atlases for visualization of the functional systems of the brain depending on the imposition of electroencephalograph electrodes and the obtained EEG data.
Smartphone Apps: Health Monitoring
As mentioned above, the main role of such applications is to keep a seizure diary. It is important for the patient to know which triggers trigger the process, learn how to avoid them and keep the disease under control. Epilepsy is a disease in which journaling becomes a matter of survival. And in this modern technology, of course, has reached perfection. Here are some examples.
- EpiDay. It is one of the most popular epilepsy control apps today. In fact, it is a “reminder” of taking medications and visits to the doctor with the ability to record seizures. Subsequently, it is possible to create a report for the doctor, which the patient can immediately send by mail to his doctor.
- Epilepsy Journal. Another popular diary for recording any daily changes in a patient’s condition that may trigger an attack. It is assumed that regular use of this application will allow to calculate the effectiveness of the applied treatment methods. It also has the function of generating reports in a user-friendly form.
- EpiCalendar. Offers a classification of seizures into 5 types. For the rest, it performs the same functions as regular epidemiological diaries.
- OpenSeizureDetector. This is not a diary, but an experimental program for the automatic recording of seizures. Such software is installed in addition to the Pebble SmartWatch. She reacts to the characteristic shaking that will be observed during an attack. If the vibration continues for more than 10 seconds, the program sends a signal to the person observing the patient. It can be an SMS indicating the location of the patient with epilepsy, or just a sound signal. The main advantage of the service is that it does not need an Internet connection.