A new collaboration between Seer Medical and Epiminder means a medical device developed at the Bionics Institute that monitors brain activity in people with epilepsy, may soon be able to predict seizures.

A move welcomed by Gary Cobon, now 71, who had his first seizure when he was 32 and says his epilepsy has been a constant worry since then.

“I have a major seizure about once a month, with no warning, and wake up 2 hours later, completely exhausted.”

University of Melbourne Professor Mark Cook, a leading neurologist specialising in the treatment epilepsy, has made it his mission to develop a medical device to help people like Gary.

First generation seizure monitoring device Minder®
Working in collaboration with scientists and engineers at the Bionics Institute, Professor Cook developed the first-generation Minder® device in 2019, implanted into Gary and 10 other people with epilepsy, as part of the first clinical trial.

Professor Cook said the device was inserted under the scalp to monitor electrical activity in the brain via 4 tiny electrodes using EEG technology, sent continuously to a phone and then the cloud for analysis. The information collected was used to detect seizures and inform treatment decisions.

“Patients are often unaware of their seizures, but the device gives me a read out of all the seizures actually happening, allowing me to calibrate medication more accurately. Ultimately this will give trial participants better control over their seizures.”

New generation Minder® device to predict seizures
“We’re now working on a new version of the Minder® system that, not only monitors seizures, but also gives advance warning of seizures so people like Gary can move to a safe place if necessary, and take back control of their life” Professor Cook said.

This is a step that will be accelerated by the new partnership between the company producing the device EpiMinder and Seer Medical, which specialises in revolutionary cloud and app-based platforms to detect, report and forecast seizures and abnormal brain activity.

CEO of Seer Medical Dean Freestone said that bringing together the Minder® device and Seer cloud technology means that patients will be able to monitor the likelihood of a seizure occurring via an app on their phone.

“The collaboration between Epiminder and Seer Medical means that people with epilepsy will have more control over their lives in the future,” Mr Freestone said.

Looking forward to a future free of constant worry
For Gary the future can’t come soon enough.

He said if I could have a device that warns me a seizure is coming, I could put myself in a safe place and warn my family.

“I look forward to the day when I can be free of the constant worry.”

For more information, email: [email protected]

Developing the new device at Neo-Bionica
The next generation Minder® device will be developed at Neo-Bionica, a medical device manufacturing facility, led by the Bionics Institute and the University of Melbourne, and based at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne.

All three organisations are part of the ACMD medical device development precinct supported by Victorian State and Federal Governments, and centered on St Vincent’s Hospital.