Expert Warns of More TV-Linked Seizures

One expert believes more cases of TV-induced epileptic seizures, like those experienced by hundreds of Japanese youngsters last autumn, are inevitable unless governments implement more rigorous broadcasting standards. While either high-speed flashes of light or rapid color changes are thought able to induce seizures in vulnerable individuals, researchers discovered that color was the culprit behind the Japanese seizures.

Among susceptible individuals, rapidly changing stimuli can play havoc with the special cells in the retina called rods and cones that help the eye transmit visual information to the brain. Certain frequencies are known to raise the likelihood of seizure among certain susceptible individuals. After a similar incident occurred during the 1993 airing of a British television commercial, state regulators imposed a series of preventive guidelines on all programming broadcast in the United Kingdom. Similar safeguards were not in place during the Japanese seizure outbreak, and do not currently exist in North America or on the European continent.

Nature Medicine (1998;4:265-266)

COMMENT: :Yet another reason to severely restrict the television viewing of you and your children. I really think it is healthy to keep it below five hours per week. We don't need to watch TV every day. Give yourself a break from it and you might be surprised at what you will be able to achieve. It will create more margin in your life in which you can invest in relationships, a far better investment than TV.

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