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Epilepsia. 2004;45 Suppl 1:35-9.

EEG diagnostic procedures and special investigations in the assessment of photosensitivity.

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Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Bologna, Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy.


Photosensitivity can be assessed in laboratory conditions with different methods. The most common procedure is intermittent photic stimulation (IPS), whose effectiveness in detecting photosensitivity depends largely on methodologic aspects. Although IPS is a widespread and routinely used procedure in EEG laboratories, only recently has a standardization of the IPS method been proposed. Furthermore, other modalities of visual stimulation, including pattern stimulation and low-luminance visual stimulation (LLVS), have proven their usefulness in detecting photosensitivity. We provide an overview of the methodologic aspects and clinical implications of these procedures, resulting from recent consensus meetings, and the diagnostic usefulness of the LLVS technique in photosensitive individuals whose seizures are triggered particularly by television images. Finally, we briefly illustrate the potential of advanced neurophysiological (magnetoencephalography and high-density EEG) and functional imaging techniques in the investigation of the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying photosensitivity.

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