Sunday, September 26, 2010


An acrylic painting done by me titled "Hidden"
(Look for the hidden epileptic face)

Ever so often whenever I mention to someone I have epilepsy, almost all the time, I get this similar reply, " Oh! Epilepsy! I know what's that and what is the big problem/issue? You fall down for a while, bite your tongue while saliva foam from your mouth and within minutes you are up on your own, back to your normal self ". Having said that, these people tend to give me wondering and puzzled stares as if to tell me indirectly I shouldn't be worried or upset over having epilepsy. It's a minor and no fuss thing. These people think there is only one type of seizure which is tonic clonic (grand mal) that always have someone falling down in a state of seizure. They are definitely wrong because there are so many different types of seizures that can be categorized and sub categorized under grand mal and petite mal.

The whole thing boils down to these people not being in my medical shoes. And then they most probably never have thought of what if one day they themselves should develop epilepsy out of the blue. By not having epilepsy themselves, it is so easy for them to turn a blind eye and care less about the sentiments of people with epilepsy (PWE) and their carers. Must these people wait to be stricken with epilepsy in order to start finding out what it is all about? And having to live with epilepsy themselves to have a better knowledge and understanding of their fellow PWE?

These people should not be reckless to simply comment about something they have shallow or wrong knowledge about. I am always irked and put off by these peoples' insensitivity towards the feelings of PWE. If they know nothing about epilepsy, have a lot of uncertainties about epilepsy or have little to comment about epilepsy, it is best they learn to ask a PWE what epilepsy is all about. And if they can, bear the word "Epilepsy" in mind and do some finding and reading about it before they go round telling and describing wrong things about epilepsy.

Epilepsy awareness is so lacking in almost all places of the world. When PWE together with their carers, doctors, health experts and epilepsy advocates are trying their hardest to promote and increase awareness of epilepsy, NO THANKS to these misleading and heartless people who are wreaking much havoc to the success rate of epilepsy awareness.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Advanced acoustic monitor detects breathing difficulties

Epilepsy sufferers who risk suffocation during a seizure could be saved with a new small acoustic detector worn on the neck.

The device, which has been developed through the work of Dr Esther Rodriquez Villegas of Imperial College and Prof John Duncan of University College London, is being launched through a new Imperial Innovations venture.

According to Ervitech, the company behind the device, the instrument addresses the limitations of earlier acoustic breathing monitors by removing interference from background noise, speech and internal sounds such as heartbeats. These advances allow Ervitech’s device to achieve similar accuracy to other techniques that use expensive and bulky monitoring equipment.

Prof Duncan explained the 2cm by 1cm device, which is currently in prototype stage, incorporates a small microphone that detects airflow up and down the trachea of a patient. A microchip processes the acoustic signal and determines whether or not there has been a breath. A small radio transmitter beams the information to a base station that could be on a bedside table.

‘The signal could also be used to alert any number of mobile phones,’ he said.

Prof Duncan, who is a researcher of neuroscience, added that the prime motivation for the device was finding an appropriate health monitoring solution for patients with epilepsy. ‘We wanted to have a device that could reliably detect apnoea and to be able to do that in and out of a hospital environment,’ he said. ‘For some conditions, particularly epilepsy, somebody may have a sudden interruption of breathing that may kill them unless somebody’s on hand to resuscitate them.’

According to Prof Duncan, the device would be particularly helpful at night because it could alert a sufferer’s caregiver or partner, who might otherwise be asleep, if there is a problem.

The Ervitech team is currently conducting clinical trials of the device with patients who suffer from breathing disorders such as sleep apnoea. Prof Duncan said: ‘We’re just making sure it can detect different types of apnoea and also that it doesn’t have false positives.’ Assuming the results are comparable to ‘gold standard’ hospital breathing monitors, Prof Duncan said the Ervitech device could be widely available within two years.

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