A new wristband-like device developed by MIT scientists can recognise changes in human emotions and help detect seizures in epileptic patients as well as monitor stress and anxiety in real time. Researchers developed an automated machine learning method that can detect compulsive seizures by combining measures of electrical activity in the skin and wrist motion. Other clinical applications for the wristband include anxiety, mood and stress monitoring and measuring painkiller drug responses. “We can observe increases in sympathetic brain activation by monitoring subtle electrical changes across the surface of the skin,” said Rosalind Picard from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. Sympathetic activation occurs when experiencing excitement or stress, whether physical, emotional or cognitive, researchers said.
In some medical conditions, such as epilepsy, it shows significant increases related to certain areas of the brain being activated, they said. Wristwatch-like devices can employ sensors for continuous, real-time data gathering. Changes in electrical activity in the skin occur as the result of activation in deep regions of the brain, researchers said. The discovery already has been commercialised for use in seizure monitoring. “We know that pain exacerbates anxiety and stress and we are doing more studies to determine how reductions in anxiety and stress could indicate an analgesic response activated by a pain management therapy,” Picard said.
The wrist-worn detector is over 96 per cent accurate for detecting convulsive seizures, researchers said. While they have not demonstrated detection of non- convulsive seizures, 42 per cent to 86 per cent of non- convulsive, complex partial seizures also have significant changes of electrical activity in the skin, researchers said