The platform provides games, music and meditation tools.

Eisia rolls out new Amazon Alexa skill geared at children with rare form of epilepsy

By Laura Lovett
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Japanese pharma Eisai Co.'s subsidiary Eisai Inc. is rolling out a new skill on Amazon Alexa developed specifically to target children with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), a rare and severe form of epilepsy. 

Dubbed Ella the Jellyfish, the underwater-themed platform includes interactive games such as "Freeze Dance" and "Color Hunt." It also provides users access to music and meditation services. 

The technology was designed to cater to the specific needs of children with LGS, which in addition to seizures also includes cognitive impairments or developmental delays. 

The tool is free and can be accessed through Amazon-connected devices including voice assistants, phones or tablets. 

WHY IT MATTERS

LGS is a fairly rare medical condition, accounting for only 2% to 5% of childhood epilepsy cases, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Typically intellectual development is impaired, but not always, according to the foundation. While there is no cure, the condition is often managed with medications and diet. 

THE LARGER TREND 

This isn’t the only digital effort focused on epilepsy. In January Embrace2, a seizure monitoring wearable from Boston and Milan-based Embrace, scored an updated FDA clearance that allows it to be used by children ages six years and older — the first such device to receive clearance for pediatric use.

In July pharma company UCB and DEARhealth collaborated on a new initiative aimed at predicting health outcomes for patients with epilepsy. The pair will use DEARhealth’s platform, which integrates artificial intelligence with EHRs.

ON THE RECORD 

"Ella the Jellyfish was born out of the countless, heartfelt experiences Eisai employees have had with the LGS community," Alexander Scott, chief strategy officer of the Neurology Business Group at Eisai Inc., said in a statement. "Staying true to our human health care mission to advance epilepsy care and help address the specific needs of patients and their families is what inspired us to develop Ella. Our goal is to relentlessly break through ordinary approaches so that we may provide innovative solutions that go beyond just the medicine."