Apple Watch App Finds Stress, Missed Sleep Trigger Seizures

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Wearable Technology App Tracks Seizure Episodes

A new study revealed that stress and missed sleep are the major factors contributing to seizures in people. By using wearable technology, this new finding was detected.

Thanks to an Apple Watch App for this new discovery.

In new research using an Apple Watch app to track seizures in people with epilepsy, it pointed to the trigger for seizures being stress and missed sleep.

Out of 598 respondents who tracked episodes of seizures for 10 months, stress was the most common trigger, linked to 37 percent of seizures. Lack of sleep came second with 18 participants identifying it as a triggering factor to seizures as well.

This study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017.

A man wearing an Apple smart watch.
A man wearing an Apple watch.

Meet EpiWatch

The data were collected through the use of an app called EpiWatch. The app used ResearchKit, a software framework designed by Apple to make it easy for researchers to gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone and Apple Watch.

The app EpiWatch recorded participants’ heart rate and movements for 10 minutes when seizure was detected. After the seizure ended, participants were given a brief survey about seizure type, aura, loss of awareness and possible seizure triggers.

Indeed, the app was able to record the number of seizures and what triggered the seizures.

In all, 40 percent of the group tracked a total of 1,485 seizures, with 177 participants reporting what triggered their seizures.

Aside from the app providing tracking of seizures, it tracks prescription medication use and drug side effects. These activities are important in helping people manage their condition.

Other Factors

Aside from stress and missed sleep that dominantly triggered seizures among participants of the study, menstruation and overexertion were recorded as triggers as well.

Other reported triggers included diet, missed medications and fever or infection. Seizure triggers did not vary by the type of seizure people had.

The study found that stress was more commonly reported as a trigger for participants who worked full-time, at 35 percent, compared to those who worked part-time – 21 percent, were unemployed – 27 percent, or were disabled – 29 percent.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.