Breaking Dawn Seizures
December 4, 2011 by staff
“If you have photosensitive seizures, it may be best for you to avoid seeing this movie,” reads a post on the non-profit’s page.
Not since the Pokemon incident of 1997, in which more than 700 Japanese cartoon viewers were hospitalized, have strobe-light-induced seizures garnered so much attention.
At least nine people have reported suffering seizures during the bloody scene that boasts flashing white light. Those flashes, at just the right frequency, can cause neurons in the brain to start firing in synch — a deviation from their usual chaos.
“When the brain is functioning normally, there are neurons firing all over the place,” said Dr. Dan Lowenstein, director of the University of California, San Francisco Epilepsy Center. “During a seizure, there’s an abnormal synchronization that we don’t usually have.”
That synchrony, which starts in the visual part of the brain, can quickly spread, causing a seizure.
“We routinely flash lights in front of patients’ eyes during electroencephalogram or EEG testing because it’s known that sometimes flashing lights can trigger seizures,” said Dr. Robert Laureno, chair of neurology at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
Laureno, who said he was dragged to “Breaking Dawn” by his wife, was surprised to hear the scene had caused seizures.
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