Analysis Of The Article "Controlling Seizures With Technology..." Written By Mary Bates

In the article ‘Controlling Seizures with Technology: Researchers are working to predict and prevent epileptic seizures before they happen’ (2018) written by Mary Bates, Bates reports that although there has been an increase in the quality of life of epilepsy patients due to the development of seizure controlling technology, there are many aspects in which the technology can be improved with use of seizure predictive algorithms. Bates employs the use of the rhetorical devices, pathos and logos, as well as structures the article in an evaluative manner in order to attract potential investors and researchers, but to also spread awareness of the condition.

One of the main purposes of the article is to draw in readers in order to spread awareness of the condition. Bates achieves this with the use of pathos. We can clearly see an example of this as the article opens, where Bates draws in the readers with the use of a true story, ‘​Mike McKenna was tired of epilepsy controlling his life. For years, he tried different medications and therapies to no avail​’. The use of the words ‘tired’ and ‘controlling’ connotes a sense of helplessness and isolation, both feelings which are experienced by the epilepsy victim as the condition renders them unable to do certain activities and hence, to an extent, limits what they are able to do. This is a clear use of pathos, it attempts to cause the reader to empathize with the hardships faced by McKenna and leads them to get emotionally involved with article. This might serve the purpose of making the reader more aware of the severity of the condition and might lead them to read further into the subject. Bates also uses pathos in order to build up excitement and promise for ​‘implantable medical device[s]’, she goes onto describe the results for McKenna as ‘life-changing’ and that ‘ Gradually, the device was able to prevent his seizures altogether. [Allowing] McKenna to [attend] college and then graduate school’. By mentioning the fact that Mckenna was now able to attend college and graduate, it is implied that after receiving the medical implant, McKenna is no longer under the control of his condition, thereby showing the positive impact of using technology to prevent seizures. This creates a sense of triumph, Bates is able to illustrate the effectiveness of the chip which might encourage readers to aid in further research or invest in further research.

Bates structures the article as an evaluation, such that the article first talks about the current technologies, then their shortcomings and then the research being done to further improve these technologies. An example of this is when Bates discusses the research being done to improve on existing devices, 'devices currently on the market can detect seizure activity in real time, and studies are underway to develop technologies that can predict when a seizure might happen well in advance. The goal of all these options is to improve the lives of patients with epilepsy’. From the quotation, it can be suggested that use of an evaluative structure for the article is intended to highlight the potential of further developing current seizure sensing technologies. This might point investor and/or researchers towards a possible opportunity in developing this technology, thus drawing interest and investment into the field. Furthermore, we can again see Bates employing the use of pathos by stating that ‘the goal of all these options is to improve the lives of patients with epilepsy’. This statement, as mentioned before, is aimed at emotionally involving readers with the article and perhaps emotionally motivating researchers (who maybe readers) to aid in the development of this technology.

In conjunction to the use of pathos, Bates also incorporates the use of analytics and statistics in order to appeal to potential investor and researchers. The use of analytics can be seen when Bates is describing how widespread the condition is, ‘[a]pproximately 65 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy, a neurological disorder in which abnormal brain activity causes seizures. For roughly one-third of these people, the condition is not controlled with medication’. The use of figures and statistics appeals to the audience’s (in the case the investor or the researcher) sense of logical reasoning (logos), and justifies why researching into this field would not only be beneficial for both the seizure victims but the investor and researcher as well . Furthermore, the use of statistics and figures might also serve the purpose of showing how widespread this problem is, which might attract investors as this could suggest a potential market for selling improved seizure sensing devices.

03 December 2019
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