Neuralert: New Stroke Detection Device May Save Lives
Heena Cho | February 7, 2023
Every 3.5 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies of a stroke. Time is essential for stroke detection and treatment, but even in hospitals, many strokes go undetected for over four hours. Enter Neuralert, a stroke detection device created by Vanderbilt Professor James Weimer. This smart wristband can track common symptoms of stroke and alert medical workers 10x faster than the current standard of care.
What is a stroke?
According to the CDC, a stroke is a “brain attack that occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.”
Strokes occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen. When the arteries that deliver oxygen-rich blood to our brain are blocked by a blood clot, etc., brain cells die within minutes and continue to do so as time passes by. These cellular deaths accumulate to cause a stroke. Stroke symptoms include weakness in the arm, leg, or face, sudden confusion with speech or problems with vision, and loss of balance and coordination. Strokes commonly result in extensive brain damage and long-term disability.
There are two types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Both types share the same symptoms and are considered medical emergencies that require immediate attention. Among all stroke incidents, roughly nine out of ten of them are ischemic. Ischemic strokes are the result of blood clots or other particles blocking blood vessels leading to the brain. In some cases, plaque (fatty deposits) build-up in blood vessels cause the blockage that ultimately provokes the stroke. A patient can also experience a transient ischemic attack, so-called “mini-strokes”, that are warning signs of a future stroke.
On the other hand, a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a brain artery ruptures. Ruptured arteries leak blood, placing excessive pressure on brain cells. When the blood leaks into brain tissues, it is called an intracerebral hemorrhage—when bleeding enters the space between the brain and skull. And when this kind of bleeding fills the space surrounding the brain, it becomes a subarachnoid hemorrhage. High blood pressure and aneurysms—bulges in the artery—are common conditions that cause hemorrhagic strokes.
What does Neuralert do?
Designated as a breakthrough device in 2021 by the FDA and as one of TIME’s 200 Best Innovations of 2022, Neuralert’s small, non-invasive wristband has the potential to minimize adverse outcomes for stroke patients via its key features: constant monitoring, state-of-art detection, and immediate alerts. Neuralert wristbands actively monitor for warning signals of two of the most common indicators of stroke: arm asymmetry and weakness.
However, these indicators may also occur when we are engaging in normal everyday activities. For example, arm asymmetry happens during most daily movements such as eating and phone scrolling. In order to prevent false alarms, Nerualert uses parameter-invariant algorithms. Parameter-invariant algorithms are algorithms that are designed to produce the same results regardless of the specific values of certain parameters. Maintenance of consistent behavior across different situations or data sets means the Neuralert can exclude non-stroke arm asymmetry and produce correct alerts.
Once a stroke is detected, Neuralert’s cloud software alerts hospital staff on their mobile devices so they can initiate treatment as soon as possible. Strokes are detected with 97% specificity in as little time as 15 minutes, and 65% of strokes are detected within 30 minutes.
Neuralert was created by doctors and computer scientists with the mission to end the devastation caused by strokes not detected in time and offer great advantages to stroke patients and their families. “With the delivery of working wristband devices and development of the software that utilizes our stroke detection algorithm, we are extremely proud to have achieved this major milestone,” said Eric Corkhill, Neuralert CEO.
Stroke facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022 Oct 14 [accessed 2023 Feb 4]. https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm#:~:text=2-,Stroke%20statistics,disease%20was%20due%20to%20stroke.&text=Every%2040%20seconds%2C%20someone%20in,minutes%2C%20someone%20dies%20of%20stroke
About stroke. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022 Nov 2 [accessed 2023 Feb 4]. https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/about.htm
Home. [accessed 2023 Feb 4]. https://www.neuralerttechnologies.com/home
Time is of the Essence When it Comes to Stroke Detection. Pennmedicine.org. 2022 Feb 11 [accessed 2023 Feb 4]. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/neuroscience-blog/2022/february/time-is-of-the-essence-when-it-comes-to-stroke-detection
Stroke signs and symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022 May 4 [accessed 2023 Feb 4]. https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/signs_symptoms.htm#:~:text=Sudden%20numbness%20or%20weakness%20in,balance%2C%20or%20lack%20of%20coordination Neuralert technologies stroke detection wristband achieves minimum via. PRWeb. 2022 Oct 25 [accessed 2023 Feb 4]. https://www.prweb.com/releases/2022/10/prweb18972298.htm