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Portuguese researchers create innovative technology to help patients with epilepsy (RTP)

A team of researchers, led by INESC TEC, have created the first system in the world that uses affordable 3D video technology to detect body movements during epileptic seizures. The system can help doctors diagnose and decide the best course of treatment for each patient.

“Our 3D system can extract body movement trajectories a lot faster than the 2D system used previously and, combined with the EEG, it offers more quantitative information for the physician to diagnose and decide on the most suitable treatment for the  patients”, explains João Paulo Cunha, coordinator of the Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research (C-BER), of the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), who is in charge of the project.

The system has been successfully tested for a year at the University of Munich’s Epilepsy Centre, and does not “require any reflectors or sensors to be attached to the patient’s body.”

“We provide information on the movement patterns during epileptic seizures, and more accurate information for the doctors to decide on the best course of treatment”, stated João Paulo Cunha, stressing that “seizures are characterized by different body movements that help identify the type of epilepsy.”

The system uses technology similar to that used in game consoles, combining a high definition camera and a high speed infrared radar to obtain, in this case, thirty 3D images per second.

The 3D sensors are synchronised with the brain activity of the patient monitored with the EEG.

João Paulo Cunha stated that the team now hopes to extend this technology to other healthcare units, such as the Santo António and São João Hospitals, in Porto, Portugal. The method is now being tested for Parkinson’s disease as well.

The technology was developed in partnership with the universities of Aveiro, Munich, and the Munich University of Technology.

The results of the work with patients with epilepsy have been recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.

RTP, 26 January 2016



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