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Epilepsies and video games: results of a multicentric study.

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Hospital Debrousse, Lyon, France.



The purpose of this study was to research whether or not video games may induce paroxysmal discharges (PD) in different groups of patients.


One hundred and fifteen subjects from 5 different French laboratories were studied: 33 had seizures exclusively under visual stimuli, 42 had both photogenic seizures and spontaneous seizures occuring independently, and 40 had non-photogenic seizures. The same protocol which included one TV sequence, 3 sequences of video games selected on particular criteria (pattern, luminosity and nature of the scene), were presented at different distances from the TV screen at 50 and 100 Hz.


Among the factors provoking paroxysmal discharges (PD) some seem crucial: the frequency of the TV screen (the 100 Hz screen was significantly safer than 50 Hz), the distance from the screen (1 m safer than 50 cm), and, particularly for the 50 Hz screen, the specific pattern of the images and the act of playing.


Video games are ineffective for subjects known as having a non-photosensitive epilepsy, but may induce PD on subjects known as photosensitive even when intermittent light stimulation (ILS) is not effective. These results based on a different approach than in other publications confirm data which were suggested by the literature, and suggest that 100 Hz TV screens should be recommended to patients with TV-induced attacks.

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