At age 19, Michelle Serna, a former teen rodeo beauty queen, national champion equestrian, TEDxSF speaker and student of political theory, experienced a traumatic brain injury in a horseback riding incident. Months later, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. Her heart sank when her neurologist informed her that there was no cure for what she was facing, only a way to moderate her seizures.
Moderating seizures typically relies on a cocktail of heavy medications leaving patients to suffer from fatigue, nausea and headaches among other severe side effects and adverse reactions. To add to the complexity, the method of drug selection is still largely a matter of trial and error with over 14,000 possible combinations of up to three drugs to analyze, correlate and determine the optimal treatment.
“Life with epilepsy is a navigation,” said Michelle Serna. “You learn to navigate your physical care and relationships in a new way.”
Michelle is not alone. More than 65 million people across the globe and 3.4 million in the United States suffer from epilepsy.
Epilepsy Digital Health Trial Open for Enrollment
Today, we’re excited to announce doc.ai’s third Digital Health Trial in less than a year. We’ve opened enrollment for a new Epilepsy Digital Health Trial to explore the use of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in identifying the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.
The study, led by principal investigator Robert Fisher, MD PhD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Stanford Epilepsy Center, will deploy and test a machine learning framework to develop a predictive model for the optimal medication in treatment.
The at-home, HIPAA-compliant and IRB-approved Digital Health Trial seeks to enroll up to 1,000 eligible participants between September 2019 and September 2020. Participants must be between 18 and 100 years old and have an epilepsy diagnosis. They also need to have a smartphone using the iOS operating system and live in the U.S. In addition to advancing epilepsy research, participants will earn rewards redeemable for Amazon gift cards at the doc.ai marketplace at the completion of the trial. Interested participants can join the Epilepsy Digital Health Trial via the doc.ai app.
Once enrolled via the doc.ai app, participants will keep an online diary tracking their seizure episodes and side effects of medication for three months. Along with the self-reported data, the study will collect and analyze patients’ health data, including an array of personal-omics information, such as the genome (DNA test provided by Kailos), phenome to capture physical traits, physiome for exercise and activity tracking, pharmacome for medication tracking and finally, the exposome, which includes environmental exposures. The trial also leverages doc.ai A.I. technologies such as computer vision and natural language processing that allows participants to capture pictures of their medication bottles for automatic import.
Epilepsy, as a condition, is at the forefront of medical research and new discoveries about treatment decisions and diagnostics will play a significant role in advancing medicine as a whole.
Despite the challenges that living with epilepsy brings, Michelle remains optimistic, “Now, more than ever, as patients, we are at a turning point in a healthcare system that is shifting treatment from the hands of practitioners to patients. I am incredibly excited to be joined by you and other patients who can collaborate on participating in finding a way to better our lives and the lives of the other 65 million people with epilepsy in the world. Thank you for being a part of this.”
We are grateful for Michelle’s and other patients’ input and their help in designing and testing the trial. We believe that medical research should not be a black box for patients and participants. We are designing research studies for the people and with the people and we invite you to share information on the Digital Health Trial with family and friends who might be interested. To participate, just download the doc.ai app and join the “Interested list.”