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Entries in Breaking Dawn (1)

Friday
Dec022011

'Breaking Dawn' Seizures Spark Warning

Andrew Cooper© 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC.(LANDOVER, Md.) -- The Epilepsy Foundation of America is using Facebook to warn its 11,000 followers about the Breaking Dawn birth scene's seizure-inducing effects.

"If you have photosensitive seizures, it may be best for you to avoid seeing this movie," reads a post on the non-profit's page.

Not since the Pokemon incident of 1997, in which more than 700 Japanese cartoon viewers were hospitalized, have strobe-light-induced seizures garnered so much attention.

At least nine people have reported suffering seizures during the bloody scene that boasts flashing white light. Those flashes, at just the right frequency, can cause neurons in the brain to start firing in synch -- a deviation from their usual chaos.

"When the brain is functioning normally, there are neurons firing all over the place," said Dr. Dan Lowenstein, director of the University of California, San Francisco Epilepsy Center. "During a seizure, there's an abnormal synchronization that we don't usually have."

That synchrony, which starts in the visual part of the brain, can quickly spread, causing a seizure.

"We routinely flash lights in front of patients' eyes during electroencephalogram or EEG testing because it's known that sometimes flashing lights can trigger seizures," said Dr. Robert Laureno, chair of neurology at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

The blood may even be causing the apparent seizures, according to Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

"For some people, fainting mimics seizures," said Devinsky. "And for a very small minority of people, fainting can induce a full-blown seizure."

In response to the Epilepsy Association's Facebook warning, one woman said her epileptic daughter felt nauseous during the scene. Other people with epilepsy said the scene didn't affect them at all.

People with epilepsy are particularly prone to seizures. For them, many things can trigger the abnormal brain firing, including fatigue, alcohol, infections and certain medications. In extremely rare cases, activities like math and reading as well as certain songs or voices have triggered seizures.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio