Optical filters may help prevent TV-induced seizures

By Suzanne Rostler

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Optical filters that reduce the level of photic stimulation of televised images can prevent seizures in photosensitive individuals, Japanese researchers report.

Dr. Yukitoshi Takahashi from Gifu University School of Medicine in Noishiki Gifu, and colleagues, tested the ability of two optical filters, used alone or in combination, to inhibit the photoparoxysmal response brought on by intermittent photic stimulation using a strobe light or flashing cathode ray tubes.

Last Updated: 2001-12-25 11:00:45 EST (Reuters Health)

One of the filters reflected long-wavelength red light and the other absorbed light equally across the visible spectrum, the investigators explain in the November 13th issue of the journal Neurology. The filters are worn as glasses.

Twenty photosensitive patients with or without epilepsy participated in the study. When used individually, these filters did not inhibit seizures in the majority of viewers, according to the researchers. However, when used together, the compound filter inhibited the photoparoxysmal response, approximately 90% of the time during intermittent photic stimulation and 95% of the time during photic stimulation with flashing cathode ray tubes.

Optical filters may help reduce the number of seizures brought on by televised images, the most common trigger for photosensitive seizures, Dr. Takahashi's team writes. In an interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Takahashi said his team has developed plastic filters that can be attached to a television set, which have been shown to have the same effect as the glasses tested in this study. It is not clear when these filters may be available commercially, Dr. Takahashi said.

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