There’s a huge sense of freedom when you’re behind the wheel, but it’s also a skill that requires you to avoid distractions.

This can prove difficult for people with epilepsy.

Medication or deep brain stimulation may control the severity of seizures, but brief periods of abnormal brain activity are difficult to detect.

“We have a real challenge when people don’t think they’re having these episodes anymore,” said Yale School of Medicine neuroscientist Dr. Hal Blumenfeld.

Those episodes are what doctors call spike wave discharges.

Dr. Blumenfeld and colleagues gathered information from a large group of patients who were tested with EEG during a spike wave discharge to see if they could respond normally. Then they fed that information into a computer.

“Basically, we have to teach it to tell the difference between brainwave activity that’s safe and brainwave activity that’s not safe for driving and for responding,” explained Blumenfeld.

Presently, doctors use behavioral testing to determine if a patient can drive.

Using AI, researchers say 65 percent of patients cleared by behavioral testing would not be able to drive under the AI test, showing that EEG testing may be a more accurate way to predict driver safety.

Dr. Blumenfeld said more studies with information from an even larger number of patients would make the artificial intelligence more accurate.

EEG testing can be done in a doctor’s office, which Blumenfeld said would make it easily accessible for patients.


Source:, Melanie Falcon