Everything You Need To Know About Seizure Alert Dogs

Most people who have or have had a pet dog would attest to the fact that their canine companion is their best friend, but for a growing number of people who have physical, mental or neurological conditions, a dog is an integral part of their daily lives. Guide dogs, also called assistance dogs, lead the visually impaired; hearing dogs alert those who are hard of hearing of crying babies or the doorbell ringing; diabetic alert dogs warn of chemical changes in blood sugar before it becomes dangerous, by using their sense of smell, while autism support dogs reduce one’s isolation and provide comfort at stressful times.

If you are someone with epilepsy or you know someone with the condition, you’d understand the fears and stress that come with the disorder. For many, it is comforting to have a seizure alert dog around as they can provide relief and come to one’s aid.

What is a seizure alert dog?

A seizure alert dog, sometimes called a seizure dog, is a trained dog that assists people who have epilepsy. It is important to know that when it comes to epilepsy, alert dogs are a subject of disagreement. On one hand, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs can reliably predict seizures, while on the other hand, patients, families and trainers attest to the fact that dogs accurately predict and alert to oncoming seizures. In other words, they may be useful in assisting a person during or after a seizure, but they not guaranteed to alert a person of an oncoming seizure.

What do seizure dogs do?

A seizure assistance dog can be trained to perform or assist with the below behaviour:

·         Moving harmful objects out of the way so as to avoid any injury during a seizure.

·         Staying with an epileptic person during an ongoing seizure to provide comfort and support.

·         Activate devices that would alert a designated person when a seizure is occurring – such as bringing the telephone or running to alert either someone in the house, a neighbour, etc.

·         Act as a brace, where they place themselves between a person and the ground especially at the beginning of a seizure attack so that the person doesn’t hit the ground and injure himself.

·         Fetch medications

 

A seizure dog can enhance quality of life especially at difficult times; they can help you increase your independence in such a way you wouldn’t need to depend on family or care givers for something as simple as going to the park or to the store. By and large, epilepsy alert dogs and other assistance dogs are allowed to enter buildings where other pet dogs aren’t.  Above all, they can serve as good companions and can help you get through tough days.

But one cannot be guaranteed that a dog can be trained successful to perform all such tasks because of various other factors that would influence it; although a seizure dog can prove to be very helpful especially in times of desperate need.

How can someone get a seizure alert dog?

It entirely depends on what an individual wants. There is no formal way to getting a seizure alert dog.  A dog trainer can recommend the type of dog that would be suitable and accordingly you can discuss what you would like your dog to be trained for. Keep in mind that this would be a time-consuming and expensive.

Before committing to getting a seizure dog, It is also important to remember that adopting a dog comes along with the responsibility of caring well for it. A seizure alert dog is a working animal therefore you have to be prepared to commit to the dog’s role as well as its needs- that would include feeding it, taking the dog for walks, taking it to the veterinary when needed and more. Overall you should be consistent in the dog’s training and management plan for best results.

Want to read more epilepsy-related blog posts? Head over to our last post on Child Safety at home and school during Covid-19.

To know more about InspyreTM by SmartMonitor, visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Covid-Safety For Children With Epilepsy

Parents of children with epilepsy always worry about their child having a seizure. The Covid-19 Pandemic has only added to their worries. While there is no evidence that having epilepsy can make an individual more prone to catching the Corona Virus or having more severe Covid symptoms, children (and adults) who have other conditions alongside their epilepsy could be more prone to contracting the virus.

Even without having other illnesses, those with epilepsy are more likely to have a seizure when they are sick. Fever, one of the symptoms of Covid-19 can trigger a seizure, which is why it is important to keep children with epilepsy safe during this time, especially with the opening of schools.

ARE ALL CHILDREN WITH EPILEPSY AT RISK?

A child who has well-controlled epilepsy and no other health issues is not at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 than a child without epilepsy. However, a small group of children with epilepsy may be at a higher risk. These are:

  • Children with uncontrolled epilepsy who experience frequent seizures and are under several anti-epileptic medications, as some of these medicines may affect the immune system
  • Children who have difficulty coughing and swallowing have a higher chance of getting a chest infection.

So with the opening of schools, what are some of the precautions you can take? And if your child’s school has chosen to opt for online classes this year, do you need to be doing do something different to care for your child at home?

PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE IF YOUR CHILD HAS ONLINE SCHOOL:

Children have already been confined to their homes for over 6 months, and with that, their daily schedules have stretched to include irregular sleeping and waking up patterns. With many schools opting to have online schooling, their schedules may have changed yet again. This may result in delays in taking regular medication, lack of a good nights’ sleep and lack of physical exercise, for starters. Proper meal times, timely medication and sleeping at a fixed time every night are simple precautions you can take at home. Family and loved ones should be prepared and know the appropriate first-aid to be given in case of a seizure.

PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE IF YOUR CHILD IS ATTENDING REGULAR SCHOOL

Children who do attend regular school; are excited about meeting their friends, don’t understand the importance of social distancing, and it’s hard to get them to wear a mask for several hours a day, every day. Still, it is important to keep reminding your child of the importance of washing/sanitizing their hands frequently, social distancing, sneezing/coughing into a tissue etc. Check their temperatures before sending them to school every morning.

Seizure management needs have not changed due to Covid-19, but what has to be looked at is the safety of the first responder and the encouragement of taking preventative measures against Covid-19 to protect both, responder and child. Talk to your school representatives to ensure that in case of a seizure, the responder is wearing a mask and have sanitized their hands.

STAY IN CONTACT WITH YOUR DOCTOR

Doctors have been overwhelmed due to the pandemic and for you, as a parent of a child with epilepsy, that means infrequent office visits. Many doctors and neurologists are available for video or telephonic consultations (also called Telehealth or Telemedicine).  Apps like Inspyre by Smart Monitor record the audio and track intensity of seizures when they occur; these can be easily shared with your doctor prior to or during a video consultation.

Lastly, encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings with you and their teachers. Every child may have different reactions to stress and may not understand the seriousness of the pandemic. Be patient and understanding.

Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Invests in Smart Monitor

Smart Monitor’s innovative SmartWatch is earning attention and winning support. Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, an organization in St. Louis, has selected Smart Monitor for its capital investment and accelerator program. Smart Monitor is one of six women-led companies that was selected for the program.

The resources and support will help Smart Monitor leverage their increasing media attention. The company has earned significant attention for their flagship product, the SmartWatch. The SmartWatch is a discrete wristwatch that alerts caregivers when repetitive shaking motion occurs, which may indicate the start of a convulsion. The watch has been profiled by multiple publications, including the examiner.com, WT VOX, and eHealth radio. Epilepsy & Behavior, the cutting-edge journal on epilepsy, has also covered the SmartWatch’s promising trial results.

People are engaged and excited about SmartWatch’s many applications. The epilepsy community is excited about the security and freedom it affords. Clinicians are using SmartWatch’s data collection to better assess patients. Innovators are intrigued by the union of medical science and wearable technology.

Smart Monitor’s SmartWatch is a unique solution to a problem 2.7 million people face daily. When repetitive motion is detected, a text message with GPS location and a phone call alerts family members or caregivers. The SmartWatch is affordable, easy to set up, non-invasive, and effective. The watch pulls together math, cloud-based analytics, and GPS technology to track motions that may indicate a seizure and alert caregivers. All of the hard work happens in the watch’s technology, not the hospital.

SmartWatch has been designed to enhance the independence and autonomy of people prone to certain types of convulsive seizures. It gives peace of mind to those with epilepsy and their parents, friends, co-workers, etc. For children, who make up 60 percent of SmartWatch users, the watch is the key to more independence and less anxiety. For their parents, SmartWatch is a priceless key to safety.

“For people with chronic health conditions, and their caregivers, this product provides incredible peace of mind,” says Nathan.

About SmartMonitor

Starting with its flagship product, the SmartWatch, Smart Monitor is dedicated to improving quality of life for people with chronic health conditions. It innovates monitoring and tracking technology for use in complex medical circumstances. The startup is based in San Jose, Ca., and specializes in uniting sensor, mobile, cloud technologies, and big-data analytics.

Media Inquiries:

Anoo Nathan
CEO
SmartMonitor
888.334.5045

For more details about Smart Monitor’s involvement with Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, or the SmartWatch, or to schedule an interview with Anoo Nathan, please contact Anoo Nathan at 888.334.5045 or [email protected]

SmartWatch from Smart Monitor Starts New Trial at NYU Langone Medical Center

Smart Monitor is pleased to announce the start of clinical studies of SmartWatch at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. Researchers will study “Detecting Ictal Impairment using a simple task and a wirst worn device” in both inpatient and outpatient settings. This study is supported in part by grant funding from the Danny DID Foundation. This funding will make NYU the third epilepsy center currently participating in trials among children, teenagers, and adults at four sites across the United States.

One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy during their lifetime, and one-third of people with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite treatment with medication, making alternative resources essential for their care and safety.

Developed by San Jose based Smart Monitor, SmartWatch® is a solution for the ongoing management of epilepsy and seizure related disorders. The solution fuses together wearable devices, mobile technology and cloud based analytics to maximize patient safety, and provide data to physicians (never available before in an outpatient setting) to optimize therapeutic regimens and enhance clinical outcomes. Alerts are sent within seconds after the onset of repetitive shaking motion allowing family and caregivers to institute timely intervention measures maximizing patient safety. Detailed episodic information, medication adherence, passive and active data is collected continuously and seamlessly on a secure HIPAA compliant server. SmartWatch maximizes patient engagement and enables physicians to more efficaciously manage chronic conditions such as epilepsy.

Trials are ongoing at Stanford University-an inpatient study focused on the device’s ability to accurately detect seizures and record them into an online epilepsy diary-and the University of Virginia, where an outpatient study examines whether the SmartWatch can help to reduce anxiety among teens and their parents. Additional trials are expected to begin at Boston Children’s Hospital in early 2015.

“We are proud to continue this partnership with the Danny Did Foundation for a series of important studies that stand to change the lives of millions of people affected by epilepsy,” says Anoo Nathan, CEO of Smart Monitor. “Through this grant, we have the unique opportunity within these four venues to research and collect data on different aspects of epilepsy, demonstrate the value of our SmartWatch and ultimately optimize ongoing clinical and therapeutic care.” “It is a goal of Danny’s cause to grow the awareness and use of devices and technology that can help to enable early intervention when seizure activity occurs,” says Tom Stanton, Executive Director of the Danny Did Foundation. “Gathering data from clinical settings is a key step in giving doctors and parents the comfort level to know that a device is effective. We’re excited to continue this research in a epilepsy center as respected as NYU.”

The SmartWatch won the 2014 Health Innovation Award at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and has been selected as a finalist again for CES 2015 for Chronic Condition Management.

About Smart Monitor
Smart Monitor empowers and engages patients and care providers to better manage complex chronic health conditions. Headquartered in San Jose, California, Smart Monitor fuses together sensor, mobile, and cloud technologies with big data analytics in a seamless environment for optimizing care and outcomes. Smart Monitor’s patent-protected solutions foster autonomy and enhance safety for people with chronic health conditions, while offering significant peace of mind to their families and care providers. For more information, visit www.smart-monitor.com.

About Danny Did Foundation
Founded by Chicagoans Mike and Mariann Stanton in January 2010 after the sudden death of their four-year-old son Danny, the Danny Did Foundation’s primary mission is to prevent deaths caused by seizures. The Foundation is dedicated to advancing public awareness of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), enhancing the SUDEP communication model between medical professionals and families impacted by seizures, and gaining mainstream acceptance and use of seizure detection and prediction devices that may assist in preventing seizure-related deaths. Epilepsy affects nearly 3 million people in the United States and 65 million people worldwide. One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. Seizures can be fatal—more people die as a result of seizures than from fires and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) combined—and thousands of deaths occur annually from SUDEP, status epilepticus (prolonged seizures), and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents. The name of the Danny Did Foundation originates from the last line of Danny Stanton’s obituary, written by his dad: “Please go and enjoy your life. Danny did.”

Personal Profile: Hugo Weaving

Personal Profile: Did you know that the actor, Hugo Weaving, from such films as Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, V for Vendetta, and Transformers, has epilepsy? He says: “I was diagnosed as epileptic when I was 13 and had seizures once a year until my 40’s. Then they just stopped. I was basically doped for 30 years on epilepsy drugs.” He goes on to say: “I’m always happy in nature. Up on our dairy farm, a big sky above our heads, beautiful stars, a river. We plant trees and grow vegetables and do nothing except physical work. I love to put my arms around a gum tree. If someone walked through our farm in 100 years and saw all the trees we planted, that would be a cool way to be remembered.” — Quotes, from The Guardian Newspaper