In the cardiac world, if you want to monitor a patient for a possible arrhythmia in an ambulatory setting, you can consider strapping them with a Holter monitor or other types of more long term cardiac event monitors.

For neurologists, options are limited – but a new group might change this.

Wave Technology Group is working with the University of Chicago Hospital’s Pediatric Epilepsy Center to develop a mobile EEG monitor connected via bluetooth to a patient’s smart phone that can deliver real time brainwave data.

They are calling it the Wave EEG Monitor and expect it to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011.

Currently, the project is focused on patients with Epilepsy. The team hopes the EEG monitor could be used to warn those with Epilepsy in real time when a seizure could be imminent – making sure they aren’t doing something that could put them at risk if they were to have a sudden seizure. For children with epilepsy the early warning would be of obvious benefit to parents or other caretakers.

The project also has huge implications for research. The large amounts of data collected could be used by researchers to look for trends or this monitoring system could even be used in clinical trials to study the efficacy of anticonvulsants for epileptic treatment.

Continue on for a description of how the device works:

The prototype now in development includes a small 16-channel amplifier – smaller than a credit card — that would be attached by wires to sensors on a patient’s head. In the current design, a hat with a pocket sewn inside would be used to carry the amplifier.

The software would control the gathering of brain wave data by the amplifier and the ability to send it via Bluetooth to a smartphone carried by the patient, and from there to a typical cellular network for transfer to a monitoring center.

One of Wave Technology’s patents is for an SMS (Short Message Service) remote application handler, which can be used on a smartphone to launch an application there. That technology will be valuable for expanding the functions that the amplifier can be used to detect, such as heart rates and data from blood sugar tests for diabetic patients, Cinquegrani said.

The amplifier will be equipped with a chip that can store data in case of an interruption in a wireless connection.

Source: BusinessWeek