Stroke and epilepsy - developing a wearable brain imaging system for diagnosis.
This research was completed on 31 December 2009
|Project Leader||Dr Alistair McEwan|
|Location||Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, University College London, London|
|Grant awarded||21 April 2005|
|Start date||1 January 2006|
|End date||31 December 2009|
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Stroke and epilepsy have a major impact on the lives of people in the UK. Stroke occurs when there is a blockage or leak in the blood vessels in the brain, and is the largest single cause of severe disability in England and Wales, with over 250,000 people being affected at any one time. In addition, at least 300,000 people in the UK have epilepsy, a neurological condition where a person has repeated fits or seizures. Both stroke and epileptic seizures can cause irreparable brain damage, leading to many other disabilities associated with loss of neural function. Electrical Impedence Tomography (EIT) is a medical imaging method in which images are produced rapidly using electrodes placed around the body. Dr McEwan seeks to develop a lightweight, portable EIT system which will detect changes or abnormalities in the brain caused by stroke or epilepsy. These images could help doctors to prescribe a better drug or surgery to minimise further damage and perhaps cure the condition. In the case of stroke, speed is of the essence, and the images may be life-saving, as the equipment is portable and can be used, for example, in an ambulance. For epilepsy, many images can be taken over a long time scale and the equipment is wearable so sufferers need not be confined to a hospital bed during the process of diagnosis. It is possible that in the future this technology might be used in the imaging of migraine, tumours, heart, lung and liver conditions.