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New Contest Challenges Scientists to Improve Epilepsy Care

New Contest Challenges Scientists to Improve Epilepsy Care

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Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Mayo Clinic are challenging the best minds in science to improve how epilepsy is treated.

The “Seizure Detection and Prediction Challenge” will involve two competitions, with $28,000 in prize money, aimed at finding new ways to detect and predict seizure onset. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that afflicts 3 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide.

The Seizure Detection and Prediction Challenge, an international competition sponsored by the American Epilepsy Society (AES), National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the Epilepsy Foundation, challenges experts to detect and predict seizure activity accurately. In the first phase, seizure detection, contestants are charged with analyzing retrospective prolonged intracranial EEG data recorded from four dogs with naturally occurring epilepsy and from eight patients with medication-resistant seizures during evaluation for epilepsy surgery. The contestant or group that can identify the earliest EEG changes leading to seizures with the fewest false alarms wins $8,000.

A second phase, the seizure prediction challenge, will follow and award the winning contestant or group $20,000 for using the same data set to predict seizures in advance of their clinical onset with the highest accuracy.

Neurostimulation represents a possible therapy capable of aborting seizures before they affect a patient’s normal activities. However, in order for a responsive neurostimulation device to successfully stop seizures, a seizure must be detected and electrical stimulation applied as early as possible.

“Accurate seizure detection and prediction are key to building effective devices to treat epilepsy,” saysBrian Litt, MD, co-chair of the AES Presidential Symposium, professor of Neurology and Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania and director of Penn’s new Center for Neuroengineering and Therapeutics. Litt, with symposium co-chair Gregory Worrell, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Biomedical Engineering and Physiology at the Mayo Clinic, are coordinating the competitions, and will announce the winners of both competitions at the AES Presidential Symposium in Seattle on Saturday, December 8th. Elson So, MD, also of the Mayo Clinic, is the current president of the American Epilepsy Society and the host of the symposium.

Link to Fill Press Release:  http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/07/kaggle/

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