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Kids at risk of TV / videogame seizures - Experts release new recommendations on reducing risk

LANDOVER, MD, SEPTEMBER 19, 2005 The Epilepsy Foundation today issued new recommendations for families on how to limit the risk of seizures triggered by flashing images and certain patterns on television, videogames, computers and other video screens. The recommendations are based upon guidelines in the UK and Japan and are the first published in the US to be based on an expert review of research on photosensitivity (the susceptibility to visual stimulation). The report by Graham Harding of the Clinical Neurophysiology Unit, Aston University, Birmingham, England, and his colleagues, appears in the September issue of the journal Epilepsia, the official journal of the International League Against Epilepsy.

The consensus recommendations, which are published in full on the Epilepsy Foundation website, cover factors such as light intensity, flicker, contrast, duration and pattern, and the technical parameters within these factors that are most likely to provoke seizures in susceptible individuals. Accompanying the report in Epilepsia is an article on the literature and data review conducted for the working group as part of its analysis and recommendations development.

No one knows how many people have had seizures while watching television, surfing the Internet, or playing videogames. But some epileptologists (doctors who treat seizures) have noticed an increase in the number of young people coming to them following these incidents. The Epilepsy Foundation, which has been watching this trend, believes that seizures from visual stimulation are a significant national health problem.

Physicians on the Epilepsy Foundation's Task Force on Photosensitivity advise that children and young adults 7 to 19 years of age are especially susceptible to visually induced seizures. They report the annual incidence in this age group to be one in 17,500, compared to one in 91,000 in the overall US population. This five-fold increased risk to youth was drama
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Contact: Sharon Agsalda
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net
781-388-8507
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
19-Sep-2005


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