Medical doctors who used an Apple Watch app to discover the most common triggers of epileptic seizures will present their findings at the American Academy of Neurology's 69th Annual Meeting today in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 10-month study involved 598 people who tracked their seizures with an iPhone app called EpiWatch, which was built by Johns Hopkins using Apple's ResearchKit software framework. The app features a custom Apple Watch complication that provides patients with one-touch access to record accelerometer and heart rate sensor data. When participants felt a seizure aura coming on, they were asked to launch the app to let it record their heart rate and movements for 10 minutes.

Screen Shot 2 2
After the seizure had come to an end, participants filled out a brief survey about seizure type, aura, loss of awareness, and possible trigger that led to the seizure.

"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, in a press release. "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."

Overall, 40 percent of the group tracked a total of 1,485 seizures, with 177 people reporting what triggered their seizures. Stress was revealed to be the most common trigger, and was linked to 37 percent of the seizures, while 18 percent of sufferers identified lack of sleep as another contributing factor. Meanwhile, menstruation was found to be a cause in 12 percent of recorded seizures, and overexertion accounted for 11 percent.

Stress was more commonly reported as a trigger for participants who worked full-time (35 percent), compared to those who worked part-time (21 percent), were unemployed (27 percent), or were disabled, (29 percent).

"Seizures are very unpredictable," said Krauss. "Our eventual goal is to be able to use wearable technology to predict an oncoming seizure. This could potentially save lives as well as give people with epilepsy more freedom. The data collected in this study helps us take a step in that direction."

The insights result from one of three ResearchKit studies launched by Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health & Science University in October 2015, which sought to learn more about autism, epilepsy and melanoma.

(Thanks, Fred!)

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

StevenPG Avatar
73 months ago
This is great news for Apple research kit. I hope to see more news like this. And maybe one day lead to some cures.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shpankey Avatar
73 months ago
As a father with a child that has seizures... this makes my heart so happy. What a wonderful thing!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
prasand Avatar
73 months ago
good sh-t. great even. Glad to see the advances in understanding that Apple Watch and / or HealthKit data provides.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sblemmy Avatar
73 months ago
Ultimately, I think this is what Tim Cook's legacy will be for Apple. The US spends over $3 trillion a year on healthcare, yet we lag behind our European counterparts on key health indicators such as infant mortality and life expectancy.

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't agree that the US health care market is fundamentally flawed, particularly when it comes to patient care management and communication. In most ways, the health care industry is ripe for technological disruption.

I recall when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he talked bout how profitable capturing just a small segment of the cell phone market would be for Apple. If Apple revolutionized and monetized just 1/2% of the healthcare market, they'd easily rake in $15 billion a year.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sweetfeld28 Avatar
73 months ago
I'm thankful that Apple is helping further research for these medical issues. I had Epilepsy as a child, I'll never forget the stress and panic that each episode caused.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...