Posted on Mar 28, 2018, 1 a.m.
Stanford University researchers having been working on developing a diagnostic tool which can translate brain activity into sounds so that silent seizures may be detected.
Many epileptic seizures can go undetected and untreated making the development of this brain stethoscope much desired as it will enable medical professionals to be able to assess patients right away to determine if they are having a silent seizure.
Most people commonly think that seizures always cause convulsions, but that is not always the case, especially among critically ill patients in intensive care units, who among those patients close to 90% will have silent seizure which may not be visible but can still damage the brain if they are prolonged.
The idea for this solution was reached by Professor Josef Parvizi after watching Kronos Quartet perform a piece on data recorded by a scientific instrument aboard Voyager space probe, which inspired him think that something similar might be done using brain wave recorded data. He then sent this information to music Professor Chris Chafe who used the data to create an algorithm to modulate singing sounds of computer synthesized voice.
To test whether people other than neurologists are capable of hearing and detecting the differences in sound between normal brain activity and a seizure using the brain stethoscope 84 electroencephalogram samples were gathered, of which 32 EEGs included either features typical of a seizure or a seizure. These electroencephalogram samples were turned into music using the algorithm created by Chafe and then played them to 30 nurses and 34 medical students at Stanford.
Despite the fact that 64 listening participants were not trained in epilepsy all 64 of the nurses and students were able to discern between normal brain waves from seizure and seizure like events, and they were able to accurately detect seizures upwards of 95% of the time, and accurately identifying samples of seizure like features at close to 75% of the time.
The next big question in the development of the brain stethoscope is to figure out is how are physicians going to use this diagnostic tool, and how do physicians use this information in their decision making process.
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