ResearchKit study conducted using Apple Watch reveals new insights into seizures

The American Academy of Neurology has announced the recent conclusion of a ResearchKit study in which an Apple Watch app was used to track seizures in people with epilepsy. According to a preliminary study of the results scheduled to be presented at the Academy’s Annual Meeting in April, the research found that the most frequent triggers for seizures were stress and missed sleep. The ten-month study involved 598 volunteers who agreed to use a ResearchKit app called EpiWatch to track their seizures. Participants were asked to open the EpiWatch app whenever they felt a seizure aura starting, which then recorded their heart rate and movements for 10 minutes, after which they were asked to perform tasks to test their responsiveness, and then presented with a brief survey collecting data on seizure type, aura, loss of awareness, and possible seizure triggers. Forty percent of the participants tracked a total of 1,485 seizures, with 177 reporting more details on what triggered their seizures. Stress was the most commonly reported trigger, linked to 37 percent of seizures, while lack of sleep was identified as a trigger for 18 percent of the seizures, menstruation for 12 percent, and overexertion for 11 percent. Other reported triggers included diet, missed medications and fever or infection. Seizure triggers did not vary by the type of seizure people had.

“The data collected will help researchers better understand epilepsy, while helping people with epilepsy keep a more complete history of their seizures,” said study author Gregory Krauss, MD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “The app also provides helpful tracking of seizures, prescription medication use and drug side effects—activities that are important in helping people manage their condition.” [via MacRumors]


Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.