In 2007, the research team at MIT Media Lab led by Prof. Rosalind Picard, Empatica’s Chief Scientist, developed a wearable that measured autonomic activity. While trying to help people with autism be better understood, Picard’s team found an unusually high response from one participant. It turned out to be a seizure.
This led to new investigations with Boston Children’s Hospital. With data from over 90 patients, the team learned they had built a more accurate method for seizure monitoring.
Their research was published in top peer-reviewed medical and engineering journals, such as Epilepsia. The research paper, Poh et al 2012a demonstrated the benefit of using electrodermal activity (EDA) together with motion to detect generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Patents were issued, and a version of their sensor was then used in hundreds of top labs, universities, and hospitals.
In one of the published studies (Poh et al. 2012b), the vast majority of complex partial seizures in a group of children caused a significantly large autonomic response. This work has been replicated in adults (Ramgopal S et al. 2014) as well, however, their autonomic responses tended to be milder.
Since Poh's study, researchers at Empatica are constantly improving the algorithm for seizure classification. Their work leads to the following contributions: Onorati, F., Regalia G. (2017) and Onorati et al. 2018.
The published results cited above were from predicate devices. To view recent findings using Embrace please see: Event detection accuracy.
Scientific literature behind Embrace
The research behind Embrace is based on scientific work published in two top medical journals, as well as on additional studies that have replicated that work and that were mentioned above. The ways in which Embrace's sensors can help revolutionize health are profound. Our goal is to provide advanced technological solutions to as many people as possible. For this reason, we are involved in a variety of clinical trials that use our sensors and analytics.
The first two peer-reviewed journal articles that published our findings were based on trials carried out at Boston Children’s Hospital (#1 pediatric hospital in the USA) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston:
Poh, M.Z., Loddenkemper, T., Reinsberger, C., Swenson, N.C., Goyal, S., Sabtala, M.C., Madsen, J.R., and Picard, R.W., "Convulsive Seizure Detection Using a Wrist-worn Electrodermal Activity and Accelerometry Biosensor", Epilepsia, Mar 20, 2012. Abstract
Poh, M.Z., Loddenkemper, T., Reinsberger, C., Swenson, N.C., Goyal, S., Madsen, J.R., Picard, R.W., "Autonomic Changes with Seizures Correlate with Postictal EEG Suppression", Neurology, Apr 25, 2012. Abstract