Patient Diaries Reveal Propensity for Epileptic Seizures
A researcher at Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering and an alumna of her lab have the first validation of their program to assess the risk of seizures in patients with epilepsy.
In a preliminary study, their Epilepsy Seizure Assessment Tool (EpiSAT) proved equally able or better than 24 specialized epilepsy clinicians at using patients’ histories to identify periods of heightened propensity for seizures.
“Epilepsy affects more than 3.4 million people nationwide,” said Rice statistician Marina Vannucci, co-author of the study led by her former student, Sharon Chiang, now a resident physician at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Neurology. “This study could serve as a benchmark case for other diseases or situations that could employ a statistical approach.”
The researchers’ automated machine-learning algorithm correctly identified changes in seizure risk — improvement, worsening or no change — in more than 87% of cases. They achieved those results by analyzing 120 seizures from four “synthetic” diaries and 120 seizures from real seizure diaries gathered by SeizureTracker.com, one of the largest electronic seizure diaries in the world. EpiSAT showed “substantial observed agreement” with clinicians more than 75% of the time, they reported.
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