Why black and white stripes trigger seizures

Wed 24 May

Those prone to migraine headaches might want to give anything with black and white repetitive stripes, such as zebra crossings, vertical blinds and radiator grills, a wide berth.

Researchers in the Netherlands and the US have shown that some brains react in a particular way when looking at black and white bar patterns, such as barcodes or certain building designs, causing crippling headaches in those who are light sensitive and in some extreme cases they can even trigger seizures.

In a recent review of the current scientific literature, Dr. Dora Hermes, of the University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands and colleagues, found that certain types of brain waves, called gamma oscillations, are sparked by vertical black and white stripes but are not by other, more cloudier images. They found that simple alterations such as adjusting the contrast of the images or adjusting the width of the bars were enough to dampen the response to brain activity.

Although it is agreed amongst scientists that gamma oscillations are spiked when someone views black and white patterns, there is still much disagreement as to why this happens. 

"Photosensitivity is common and is found in 0.3-3% of the population. Photosensitive epilepsy, where light stimulation causes seizures, has a prevalence of 1 in 10,000 individuals - or 1 in 4,000 between ages 5-24," explains Dr. Hermes.

The study highlights the need for special consideration in implementing their findings into everyday life, such as building designs, road signs and home interiors such as wallpaper and window blinds.

When asked about future work in the light of this review, Dr. Hermes remarked that, "Our commentary. . . proposes [that] the same images that drive gamma oscillations also are the most likely to trigger seizures in photosensitive epilepsy. Now, we are going to further test this idea with carefully designed empirical studies comparing patient with photosensitive epilepsy and controls." 

It is still unknown as to whether a natural image, like a city scene, train station, the interior of a house or a wall painting is more likely or less likely to cause gamma oscillations or seizures.

Dr. Hermes and her team are working on models that can help predict brain activity in more diverse settings that people will encounter in everyday life.

 

Image Credit: https://morguefile.com/search/morguefile/3/black%20and%20white%20stripes/pop


Write a comment ...
Post comment
Cancel

Why Hillary Is Good For Your Health

Hillary the hawk at Stachus
Passing through the basement floor at Stachus these days you might not be sure if you can trust your eyes, as Hillary the Harris Hawk is likely to...

Oh dear, Obikes

Obike Muenchen
So far since launch, 6800 Obikes bikes have been positioned in Munich. More and more of these bicycles-for-rent are being deliberately damaged. Not...

Winter Tollwood 2017

Tollwood Winter Festival
Tollwood Winter Festival 2017 is currently taking place at the Theresienwiese in Munich.
This year's festival motto is: "We, all. Let's stand up and...

Engineering Jobs Fair in Munich

Munich Engineering Jobs - accepting CVs
The Association of German Engineers (VDI) is hosting its annual engineering recruitment fair on Thursday 16th November in Munich. The day-long event...

Second S-Bahn weekend maintenance closures

SBahn delays
For the second - and last - time of the year, the S-Bahn Stammstrecke (main line) will be out of service due to repair and maintenance works.

The...

Follow-Up on the Unterfoehring shooting

A 26-year-old female police officer was severely injured three months ago during a routine check at the Unterföhring S-Bahn station. The suspected...

Institutionalist Ciudadanos won the election, but pro independence parties retain majority

Ines Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos with 37 seats obtained most of the support from voters (25,3), but it wasn´t enough to break a majority of pro...

DB Sprinter Hits Technical Issues

It should have been the glorious end of a long and expensive journey; after more than 25 years of planning, political discussions, building halts and...

Is an Executive MBA Worth it?

Chicago Booth MBA
The Future of Business Education: Is an Executive MBA Worth it? Join Chicago Booth in Munich for a candid panel discussion and audience Q&A with...

Rosenheimerplatz Knife Attack - multiple victims

UPDATE: Munich police have now confirmed the man being held is in fact their prime suspect and the emergency situation is now over. UPDATE: a man...

Munich Top City for IT and Engineering

Munich top city for engineering jobs
Back in 2014, a study by the European Commission confirmed that Munich is the city that offers Information and Communication Technology (ICT)...

Munich Students Win Hyperloop Contest

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and the aerospace company SpaceX, launched the "Hyperloop Pod Competition" in 2015. The Hyperloop is the concept of a...

Advertise with The Munich Eye
Public Service Advertisements
Shades of Love
Advertisements
Spanish Finca for rent Web Site Optimisation
Newspaper sudoku