A new UK study has shed light on the current pros and cons of using seizure detection technology in the management of epilepsy.Led by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the research analysed existing studies to review the quality of evidence supporting the use of these devices, which offer the potential to detect seizures and to help prevent injury and death.One of the most distressing and debilitating aspects of seizures is their unpredictable nature, which means patients and carers are often ill-prepared to cope with them properly. These new devices can help to address this challenge by alerting those affected ahead of time.A literature search, using carefully defined search terms, found 43 relevant studies. To be included in the review, the assessed devices had to have the potential for everyday use in a domestic setting. For example, studies involving long-term use of scalp electrodes for electroencephalography (EEG) measuring purposes were excluded due to the limitations this method places on daily activities.According to the results, which are published in the medical journal Seizure, the majority of the devices assessed focused on changes in movement or physiological signs, and depended on an algorithm to determine cut-off points.None were able to detect all seizures, showing the limitations of currently available technology, and false positives (when the alarm sounds in the absence of a seizure) were highlighted as a problem.It was also noted that many of the studies involved relatively small numbers of cases, or reported on only a few seizures, indicating that further research is needed in this field in order to advance these techniques.The researchers concluded: “Seizure detection devices are at a relatively early stage of development and, as yet, there are no large-scale studies or studies that compare the effectiveness of one device against others. The issue of false positive detection rates is important, as they are disruptive for both the patient and the carer.Nevertheless, the development of seizure detection devices offers great potential in the management of epilepsy.”Posted by Anne BrownClick here to read Epilepsy Research UK’s tonic-clonic seizure alarm report from October 2015.Click here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.