Monday, April 3, 2017

Can watching Pokémon cause seizures?

Hello everybody,

So this is an interesting post about Stimulus Sensitive seizures also known as Reflex Seizures.

The major stimuli precipitating these seizures are Sensory in nature but as there is no known "Reflex" to cause such seizures they are better termed as Stimulus Sensitive Seizures!

So in order to study these seizures Japanese children were exposed to   Pokémon  cartoon that induced seizures, surprisingly​ out of all the children who had an episode of seizure only 24% had a  history of spontaneous seizures. These children had the Photosensitive type of Stimulus Sensitive seizures.

Photosensitive or pattern-induced  seizures as experimented in the Japanese kids are, well-recognized and stimulated by bright or flashing lights  (TV,  video  games,  discotheques,  concert  light  shows)  or  by patterns  (lines on the road  while traveling).  These may occur 1 in 4,000 people in age group of 5-25yr but are outgrown in their 30s.

For patients with isolated  photosensitive  or pattern-induced seizures, avoidance  or  modification of stimuli is the initial  approach in the form of wearing blue or  polarized  sunglasses, avoiding  highcontrast flashing-light video games, 
avoiding discotheques, watching TV in a  well-lit room at a distance of  >8  feet,  and covering 1 eye when in a provocative  situation.

Well generally it is observed that many patients with epilepsy can identify precipitating or provoking events that  predispose them to having a seizure. 

Common events include :
stress
lack of sleep
fever
fatigue.

In another group, patients have seizures in response to a very specific, identifiable sensory stimulus or activity.
These stimuli may be :
External :(light, patterns,  music,  brushing  teeth)
Internal :(math, reading, thinking, self-induced). 

The manifestation of these seizures can be either:
Generalized
Partial
Nonconvulsive
Absence
Myoclonic. 

One common pattern is photomyoclonic seizures characterized by forehead  muscle twitching or repetitive eye opening or closing.

So till the next time you play Pokèmon Go or you see Pikachu in action do remember about Stimulus Sensitive Seizures!  ;)

Hope this was informative!

-Medha!

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