Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Smartphones could ‘democratize’ EEG


AT ANA 2017

SAN DIEGO – Epilepsy is a common condition, but many people live in areas too poor or underserved to benefit from electroencephalogram (EEG) testing to confirm a diagnosis. Modern technology may be changing that. Smartphones wirelessly linked to headsets can collect EEG data and potentially serve as an alternate platform for diagnosis of epilepsy.

To test the efficacy of one such system, Farrah Mateen, MD, PhD, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, conducted a study in the remote, mountainous Kingdom of Bhutan, which lies between India and China. Her group compared the signals between a smartphone EEG and standard EEG.

The sensitivity was low, at around 40%, but the device’s specificity was 90%-95%. For now, the device performs better as a confirmatory test than as a screening device, but the researchers hope to adjust the lead location to improve sensitivity.

The headset used was designed for use by video gamers, and at a cost of less than $300, it represents a low-cost entry into portable EEG.

Dr. Mateen discussed the smartphone EEG study in a video interview at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association.

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