An innovative application for the management of epilepsy (ARMOR project)

An innovative application for the management of epilepsy (ARMOR project)

By Elena Turco
Posted 27 Aug 2014 | 17:28 GMT

Epilepsy is a serious brain disorder affecting up to 1% of the population worldwide. Eight partners from five participating countries (Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Spain and UK) are working together to develop an innovative application for the management of the disease. The project “Advanced multi-parametric monitoring and analysis for diagnosis and optimal management of epilepsy and related brain disorders” (ARMOR) received funding of 3.2 million Euros (2011-2014) from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 287720.

The main goal of the ARMOR project is to put together the components necessary for an ambulatory, non-intrusive Personal Health Record based System (PHR-S) for home monitoring of epileptic patients. The design addresses the needs of patients and healthcare professionals through the development of tools for accurate diagnosis (e.g. is it really epilepsy and if yes, of what type?), monitoring and analysis for specific clinical scenarios defined by the UK clinicians in the consortium. This PHR-S, as anticipated by Prof. Mark Richardson of King’s College London, would allow reliable detection of life threatening seizures by acquiring relevant data from the brain as well as several body systems at individual level and at the patient’s home, thus avoiding hospital stays and drastically reducing costs while improving the level of care and the quality of life of the patient.

At the end of the second year of the project, several milestones have been achieved. First, user-friendly and non-intrusive sensors for long-term monitoring and analysis of epilepsy-relevant data have been identified and adapted for the task. The sensors are integrated with a strong encryption hardware module to protect security of private and sensitive data. Second, the ARMOR middleware provides the necessary infrastructure to acquire, store locally and upload data to a remote PHR-S server. Important middleware innovations include compression techniques, easy and fast transmission of data, modular and easy to extend solution. These achievements enable more information to be acquired and thus assist to better analysis while mitigating resource expenditure. The middleware has been integrated with the rest of the available ARMOR platform components in a working prototype. Third, innovative data processing algorithms are developed to perform entire analysis of sensor data stored in the ARMOR platform. These algorithms can detect critical events, identify seizures and “mine” information hidden in the data. Finally, epileptic and sleep data of high quality are analyzed with the most powerful tomographic techniques available today, generating new knowledge about sleep and epilepsy. At the same time these results guide the selection of sensors in simple devices to address in an affordable yet powerful and personalized way the needs of each patient. 

The services that ARMOR will offer include: Access, management and processing of medical data; real time detection of critical situations and sending this information to doctors and caregivers; storage and management of personal physiological measurements, treatments, prescriptions etc., and group-based data management; online and offline analysis of collected data; and computer assisted diagnosis. 

In summary, ARMOR can detect life threatening seizures and build up the history of progress of the condition without lengthy stays in the hospital. The outcome will not only improve the clinical management of individual patients but also increase our understanding of epileptic seizures and eventually epilepsy. The deployment of ARMOR will guide the diagnostic workout before treatment and provide an accurate and fast assessment of the response to each treatment optimized for each patient.