Flickering Bright Colors Likely To Trigger Epileptic Fits

LONDON – Certain flickering colors, especially red and blue in tandem, seem more likely to cause fits among epileptics, says a new study headed by a researcher of Indian origin.

Joydeep Bhattacharya at the Goldsmiths-University of London (GU-L) headed a team of researchers to probe the brain rhythms of photo-sensitivity.

In 1997, more than 700 children in Japan reportedly suffered an epileptic attack while watching an episode of a popular cartoon.

This was later diagnosed as a case of photosensitive epilepsy (a kind of epilepsy caused by visual stimulus) triggered by a specific segment of the cartoon containing a colourful flickering stimulus.

In 2007, the animated video footage promoting the 2012 London Olympics faced similar complaint from some viewers.

The researchers probed brain rhythms of photo-sensitivity among adult controls, an unmedicated patient suffering from photo-sensitive epilepsy, two age-matched controls, and another medicated patient.

Their results show that when perturbed by potentially epileptic-triggering stimulus, healthy human brain manages to maintain a chaotic state with a high degree of disorder, but an epileptic brain represents a highly ordered state which makes it prone to hyper-excitation.

Their study also found how, for example, red-blue flickering stimulus causes larger excitation than red-green or blue-green stimulus, says a GU-L release.