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Remote and long-term self-monitoring of electroencephalographic and noninvasive measurable variables at home in patients with epilepsy (EEG@HOME): Protocol for an observational study

Remote and long-term self-monitoring of electroencephalographic and noninvasive measurable variables at home in patients with epilepsy (EEG@HOME): Protocol for an observational study

Authors: 
Andrea Biondi, Petroula Laiou, Elisa Bruno, Pedro F Viana, Martijn Schreuder, William Hart, Ewan Nurse, Deb K Pal, Mark P Richardson
Year: 
2021
Journal: 
JMIR Research Protocols
Abstract: 


Background
Epileptic seizures are spontaneous events that severely affect the lives of patients due to their recurrence and unpredictability. The integration of new wearable and mobile technologies to collect electroencephalographic (EEG) and extracerebral signals in a portable system might be the solution to prospectively identify times of seizure occurrence or propensity. The performances of several seizure detection devices have been assessed by validated studies, and patient perspectives on wearables have been explored to better match their needs. Despite this, there is a major gap in the literature on long-term, real-life acceptability and performance of mobile technology essential to managing chronic disorders such as epilepsy.

Objective
EEG@HOME is an observational, nonrandomized, noninterventional study that aims to develop a new feasible procedure that allows people with epilepsy to independently, continuously, and safely acquire noninvasive variables at home. The data collected will be analyzed to develop a general model to predict periods of increased seizure risk.

Methods
A total of 12 adults with a diagnosis of pharmaco-resistant epilepsy and at least 20 seizures per year will be recruited at King’s College Hospital, London. Participants will be asked to self-apply an easy and portable EEG recording system (ANT Neuro) to record scalp EEG at home twice daily. From each serial EEG recording, brain network ictogenicity (BNI), a new biomarker of the propensity of the brain to develop seizures, will be extracted. A noninvasive wrist-worn device (Fitbit Charge 3; Fitbit Inc) will be used to collect non-EEG biosignals (heart rate, sleep quality index, and steps), and a smartphone app (Seer app; Seer Medical) will be used to collect data related to seizure occurrence, medication taken, sleep quality, stress, and mood. All data will be collected continuously for 6 months. Standardized questionnaires (the Post-Study System Usability Questionnaire and System Usability Scale) will be completed to assess the acceptability and feasibility of the procedure. BNI, continuous wrist-worn sensor biosignals, and electronic survey data will be correlated with seizure occurrence as reported in the diary to investigate their potential values as biomarkers of seizure risk.

Results
The EEG@HOME project received funding from Epilepsy Research UK in 2018 and was approved by the Bromley Research Ethics Committee in March 2020. The first participants were enrolled in October 2020, and we expect to publish the first results by the end of 2022.

Conclusions
With the EEG@HOME study, we aim to take advantage of new advances in remote monitoring technology, including self-applied EEG, to investigate the feasibility of long-term disease self-monitoring. Further, we hope our study will bring new insights into noninvasively collected personalized risk factors of seizure occurrence and seizure propensity that may help to mitigate one of the most difficult aspects of refractory epilepsy: the unpredictability of seizure occurrence.

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