Epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, sometimes accompanied by loss of consciousness and control of bowel and bladder function. Globally, it is estimated that 2.4 million people are diagnosed each year, and approximately 50 million people with epilepsy around the world are at risk of Sudden Unexpected Death In Epilepsy (SUDEP). In fact, risk of premature death in people with epilepsy is over 3 times higher than the general population. Key to managing the disorder is to prevent symptoms turning into full-blown seizures by immediately administering medication. However, identifying these symptoms, especially in children, can be difficult.
The startup Adris Technologies has developed a wireless wearable device that monitor the heart rate of children, enabling it to detect seizures when there is no visible evidence. The watch type device, called PulseGuard, accurately measure heart rate by reading the blood flow through the capillaries under the skin on the arm or leg. The wireless sensors then transmits the data via Bluetooth to the accompanying PulseGuard App, which triggers an alarm if danger signs are detected.
PulseGuard was inspired by Adrian and Sue Perry, who have a son with Dravet Syndrome. They were using seizure alarm under their son’s mattress, together with audible monitoring and CCTV camera above his bed, to detect seizures during the night. They soon discovered they had missed a prolonged seizure where their son’s movements were not enough to activate the alarm.
After discovering there was no system on the market to accurately detect the onset of seizure, they decided to design their own, and remembered how a consultant explained how their son had dramatically increased heart rate when having a seizure. The monitor they developed did not miss a single seizure over two years of trial, so they founded Adris Technologies in order for others to benefit from their technology.
The innovative monitoring system is based on a unique understanding of patients, the disorder, and worried families on the lookout for SUDEP. The device significantly improve quality of life for both patients and their families, and parents no longer have to worry about their children having fatal seizures during the night. With PulseGuard, they are now able to live a normal life, bringing peace of mind. In addition, the device collect data that could fuel future research, and solve a range of healthcare problems.
Although initially developed as a seizure monitor, PulseGuard could also benefit a wide range of medical conditions that affect their heart rate. Adris technologies are focusing their research on diabetes, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome and heart conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, Brugada syndrome, cardiac arrest, and heart attack. This wide applicability highlight the innovative nature of the platform, and the huge potential of the startup.
PulseGuard last year won the social technology award from the Nominet Trust for helping the lives of people with epilepsy. The grant is being used to further develop the PulseGuard system for use in residential and nursing homes.