ITU researchers get funding for epilepsy project
In a new project with Rigshospitalet, Lars Rune Christensen and Lene Nielsen will test and improve a new device for prevention of epileptic seizures. The Danish Epilepsy Association is funding the project.
A small earpiece-like device has the potential to make life easier for people suffering from epilepsy. Today, some epileptics are treated with the implantable VNS device, often nicknamed the 'pacemaker of the brain', stimulating the vagus nerve with electrical impulses and in many cases reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.
The new device, t-VNS, developed by the German company Cerbomed, is not implanted in the body, but simply wrapped around the ear like an earpiece and worn for around four hours a day. This spares the patient from undergoing elaborate surgery which is only effective in about 50 percent of cases.
The Danish Epilepsy Association finds the device so promising that it has decided to support a test project at Rigshospitalet with a grant of 463,664 kroner (approx. 62,000 Euro). The project will be carried out by Professor Anne Sabers from Rigshospitalet in collaboration with Lars Rune Christensen and Lene Nielsen from the IT University of Copenhagen.
While Professor Anne Sabers is going to investigate the clinical effectiveness of t-VNS, the two researchers from ITU will focus on the usability and service design of the device from the perspective of both patients and clinical staff.
- There are some challenges in the physical design of the device, among other things it does not sit firmly in the ear, making sleeping or being active impossible while the user is wearing it. We are going to interview users and examine how we can improve the usability of the design, and apply a service design perspective to integrate the device in the everyday lives of users as well as in the clinical workflow, says Associate Professor Lars Rune Christensen.
The three scientists were presented with the grant by the patron of the Danish Epilepsy Association, Princess Marie, at an epilepsy conference in Odense on 27 May.
Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lars Rune Christensen, Associate Professor, email email@example.com