Seizure forecasting and cyclic control of seizures


Epilepsy is a unique neurologic condition characterized by recurrent seizures, where causes, underlying biomarkers, triggers, and patterns differ across individuals. The unpredictability of seizures can heighten fear and anxiety in people with epilepsy, making it difficult to take part in day‐to‐day activities. Epilepsy researchers have prioritized developing seizure prediction algorithms to combat episodic seizures for decades, but the utility and effectiveness of prediction algorithms has not been investigated thoroughly in clinical settings. In contrast, seizure forecasts, which theoretically provide the probability of a seizure at any time (as opposed to predicting the next seizure occurrence), may be more feasible. Many advances have been made over the past decade in the field of seizure forecasting, including improvements in algorithms as a result of machine learning and exploration of non–EEG‐based measures of seizure susceptibility, such as physiological biomarkers, behavioral changes, environmental drivers, and cyclic seizure patterns. For example, recent work investigating periodicities in individual seizure patterns has determined that more than 90% of people have circadian rhythms in their seizures, and many also experience multiday, weekly, or longer cycles. Other potential indicators of seizure susceptibility include stress levels, heart rate, and sleep quality, all of which have the potential to be captured noninvasively over long time scales. There are many possible applications of a seizure‐forecasting device, including improving quality of life for people with epilepsy, guiding treatment plans and medication titration, optimizing presurgical monitoring, and focusing scientific research. To realize this potential, it is vital to better understand the user requirements of a seizure‐forecasting device, continue to advance forecasting algorithms, and design clear guidelines for prospective clinical trials of seizure forecasting.