It happened without warning.
Vanessa Vazquez’s son, Max Lucca, was at the kitchen table doing homework after school. He stood up to sharpen a pencil. Then, suddenly he began shaking uncontrollably. Inside his brain, a storm of electrical activity was raging, messages firing in a frenzy and overloading normal function.
The 14-year-old was having his first epileptic seizure. It would not be his last.
Epilepsy is a chronic, lifelong condition without a cure. For Vazquez, it’s a shadow of unbearable unknowing that falls over every moment. When will her son have a seizure? Will she be there to make sure he’s safe? Unlike other kids his age, Max Lucca’s life is marked by limitations. No bicycle rides on his own. No swimming on his own. The fact a seizure could strike at any time makes too many activities dangerous.
But if the next one could be predicted, parents like Vazquez would have time to prepare and kids like Max Lucca could just be kids.
Taking the unpredictability out of seizures is the goal of FIU data scientist and associate professor in the Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences Fahad Saeed‘s research.