Taking A Selfie; Harmless Fun Or A Seizure Trigger?

The results of a teenager’s three day VEEG (Video EEG) have doctors concerned that they may have stumbled upon a new seizure trigger, especially for those with photosensitive epilepsy.  While the patient didn’t show any physical symptoms, doctor’s saw two bursts of epileptic seizure activity on the otherwise normal EEG.  When the video feed was reviewed it showed the teen had taken a selfie each time with their iPhone and texted the pictures to friends.

Dr. Brna, a pediatric neurologist, who assisted in a case study, said it’s unclear if the phone’s flash or the pulsing LED used for red-eye reduction was the trigger. However, another neurologist believes the red-eye reduction mechanism may be to blame since it’s a pattern of light and not a single flash that triggers seizures for those who are photosensitive.

Doctor’s caution that this case study only involved one patient and there have been no other reports of this happening.  There are plans to study this possible new trigger with a broader patient base.  If it is proven to be a seizure trigger and risk for people living with epilepsy, then it may warrant informing patients through counselling or warning’s issued by cell phone manufacturers.

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***Although the case study cautions against ALL selfie mechanisms, the mother of the patient reached out to us and said the following:  “My daughter is the girl in the study. I think it’s important to note that it was actually a Snapchat screen flash, not an iPhone camera flash that was in use on an iPhone 5s”***

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One Response to Taking A Selfie; Harmless Fun Or A Seizure Trigger?

  1. Amanda says:

    My daughter is the girl in the case study. I should’ve noticed this detail sooner, but I missed it…. it was actually a Snapchat ‘screen’ flash, not an iPhone ‘camera’ flash that was in use on an iPhone 5s at the time. I’d be interested to know if a screen flash pulses or if it’s a single burst….

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