~e; picnoleptic roulette

From bc <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Sun, 27 Jan 2002 08:35:33 -0600

  [article from the local newspaper's FixIT column, which briefly describes the
  interaction that can cause seizures with electric overstimulation 
and overload,
  resulting in a seizure. what is interesting is the 
'photosensitivity' aspect, which
  sounds similar to how trees turn light into energy, a processing of 

Can video games cause seizures

[Question]: Can video games cause seizures?

[Answer]: Yes. The first medical article about this  strange 
phenomenon, then called "Space  Invader Epilepsy" was published Feb. 
28, 1981, in the English medical journal, the Lancet.

Dr. Frederick Langendorf, at the Department of Neurology, Hennepin 
County Medical Center, explained how such seizures happen:

Everything seen and heard is processed by the brain as electricity; 
electrical impulses release chemicals in the brain called 
neurotransmitters. If this release process goes unregulated, or 
spreads to parts of the brain where it does not belong, the result 
can be a seizure.

Sometimes a flickering light can be the trigger; this is why an EEG 
(electroencephalogram), a brain-wave test for epilepsy, often will 
include a strobe light to see if there is a tendency for flickering 
lights -- such as those in some video games -- to cause seizures.

But flickering light accounts for relatively few seizures, and fewer 
still are brought on by other causes, such as reading, listening to 
music, or even doing arithmetic. The vast majority simply start on 
their own. Consequently, only people who have experienced seizures 
triggered by video games or other identified sources need to take 
special precautions.

A number of legal actions have been brought against video game 
manufacturers by players seeking to recover damages for their 
condition, particularly where they have suffered multiple seizures, 
according to http://ClassActionAmerica.com,  a Web site that tracks 
class action suits.

The site's background information on these cases includes the following:

Epilepsy, in general, is more prevalent in boys, but 60 percent of 
the cases of the photosensitive variety (the type causes by 
flickering lights or video games) occur in girls. It's most common 
around puberty. And three out of four people who are photosensitive 
will remain so for the rest of their lives. At least 50 cases of 
video-game-induced seizures have been documented .

Flash-induced seizures are most often the result of a particular 
flash rate -- the number of times per second the flash occurs. A 
flash rate between 15 and 20 is most likely to induce a seizure. 
Besides video game photosensitivity, such seizures can be induced by 
strobe lights and television. In 1997, Japan made worldwide headlines 
when hundreds of children suffered seizures while watching a Pokemon 
cartoon on TV. England regulates flashing images in TV commercials to 
prevent seizures.

-- Send your questions to Fixit in care of the  Star Tribune... 
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
  copyright 2002 Star Tribune. ((fair-used, EM education ~e.org 2oo2))

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