Autism, Epilepsy, Light.
Managing Editor's Note: You're likely aware that light sensitivity is also a symptom of excess mercury in the body. I know a couple o' guys who could write a book 0n it...
From EMax Health: For about 3% of the three million Americans with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures. However, when epilepsy is combined with autism, researchers have found photosensitivity to be much more common.
Epilepsy is common in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Nearly a third of patients with an ASD have epileptic seizures. Recently, the American Epilepsy Society was presented with a recommendation that children who present to epilepsy clinics for treatment of seizures also be routinely screened for signs of autism and other developmental delays.
Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston reviewed the records of children diagnosed with autism between December 2010 and May 2011. To be included in the study, the children were to have had an electroencephalogram (EEG) either prior to or during the search period to determine the presence or absence of photoparoxysmal response (PPR) to intermittent photic stimulation.
During the EEG, sensors are attached to the patient’s scalp to monitor the electrical activity of the brain in various conditions, including light stimulation. An abnormal response indicates the presence of photosensitivity.
Dr. Jill Miller-Horn reported that the team found a “high overall incidence of photosensitivity in 25% of children over 15 years of age with autism spectrum disorder, and an even higher rate of 29.4% in that age group of children who had both epilepsy and autism.” She noted that this finding had not been previously reported.
Interestingly, not only flickering lights can trigger photosensitive epilepsies in children with autism, but also self-stimulatory behavior such as had flapping in front of the face.
Other sources of photosensitive epilepsy triggers include television screens, computer monitors, certain video games, intense strobe lights such as those on a fire alarm, and natural light especially when shimmering off water, flickering through trees or through the slats of Venetian blinds.
Dr. Miller-Horn notes that larger-scale studies are needed to confirm her team’s findings.
For those with photosensitive epilepsy, the Epilepsy Foundation recommends taking the following actions to avoid exposure to potential triggers:
• Watch television in a well-lit room to reduce the contrast between light from the set and light in the room.
• Reduce the brightness of the screen.
• Keep as far back from the screen as possible.
• Use the remote control to change channels on the TV so you won’t have to get too close to the set.
• Avoid watching for long periods of time.
• Wear polarized sunglasses while viewing television to reduce glare.
• Sit at least 2 feet from the screen in a well-lit room.
• Reduce the brightness of the screen.
• Do not let children play videogames if they are tired.
• Take frequent breaks from the games and look away from the screen every once in a while. Do not close and open eyes while looking at the screen – blinking may facilitate seizures in sensitive individuals.
• Cover one eye while playing, alternating which eye is covered at regular intervals.
• Turn the game off if strange or unusual feelings or body jerks develop.
• Use a flicker-free monitor (LCD display or flat screen).
• Use a monitor glare guard.
• Wear non-glare glasses to reduce glare from the screen.
• Take frequent breaks from tasks involving the computer.
Exposure to Strong Environmental Lights
Cover one eye (either one) with one hand until the stimulus is over. Closing both eyes or turning your eyes in another direction will not help.
American Epilepsy Society (AES), 65th annual meeting, Abstract 3.109
This was on my newsletter today from the Epilepsy foundation
The title is: "Are Medical Students Learning Enough about Epilepsy"
It is a short article;
"Becoming an epilepsy specialist (“epileptologist”) requires four years of medical school, followed by four years of neurology residency training, and then additional training in an epilepsy fellowship. Having been recently involved in the interview process for our neurology residency, it is apparent how few candidates complete medical school with a specific interest in epilepsy. This seems to be disproportionate to the number of residents who will gain a life-changing interest in epilepsy during their residency and pursue a fellowship in this field. These medical students come from all over and are a fair representation of the next wave of neurologists, so this must be a general trend.
Out of curiosity, I have been asking the candidates what their potential subspecialty interests are, if any, and what drove them to focus on that path. Only three of about 60 candidates state any interest in epilepsy. Two of the three cited a family member with epilepsy as the reason for their interest; the other candidate has had epilepsy surgery himself.
This suggests that medical schools are perhaps failing to teach the side of epilepsy that we know to be the most interesting – the parts that drive residents to pursue an epilepsy fellowship. Instead, what is routinely taught are the subjects that neatly fit into a multiple choice test. This includes seizure medications and their side effects, the vocabulary about various seizure types, and a few out-of-context EEG buzzwords. These are certainly important facts, but the exciting parts of epilepsy are underemphasized. To promote interest in epilepsy, schools should be teaching how we distinguish epilepsy from other similar appearing diseases, how our diagnostic tests are used in conjunction with the history, and the keys to long-term management of epilepsy. Until we get the word out about these subjects, we will not generate the academic interest in epilepsy that it deserves."
by Martin Myers MD, Neurology Chief Resident and
Selim R. Benbadis MD, Director of Epilepsy
University of South Florida
Last Reviewed: 1/29/14
Personal note here. My son was having a lot of strange seizures - like partical or absentees. I took him into the peds office and he was actually having them right in front of her.
I have her medical notes about why she did not think it was seizures - and it goes againest all I as a parent now knows.
She mentions him licking his hands and he would have to be institutionalized. But the other peds that knew him would joke with him and he had always joked back. Perhaps that is where I went wrong -- She was a new ped to this old practice and I should have stuck with the do nothing old peds that at least knew him.
This is a darn mess.
Posted by: Benedetta | January 29, 2014 at 02:39 PM
When I was about 10,as I went past some railings,the light flickered through. I got a strange tickling,in the front of my head,I could,nt open my eyes,my hands felt weak.
Later,in my teens I worked with large wavey springs,in fluorescent light. The same thing happened.
I read in Readers Digest years ago,that it was mild epilepsy.But Doctors and Opticians say they have never heard of it.
Also,is it possible to be mildly Autistic? I had a bad head injury in my childhood, before 10. Thanks.Ray
Posted by: Ray | May 08, 2012 at 09:47 AM
Also, stock up on the incandescent light bulbs. The compact florescent ones have a lot more problems for our kids with photo-sensitivity - not to mention other problems including mercury vapor. They will not be sold legally in the US after 2012. So unless you visit Canada or Mexico an awful lot get your incandescents NOW!
Posted by: Nancy | December 10, 2011 at 07:10 PM
I might add;
They gave my son an EEG and he showed seizure activity as he was falling asleep at age 1 year!
They well knew then it was a vaccine injury because I was screaming it from the rood top. There was not a person in the communities I lived in that did not hear it from me.
The Early Childhood Development People when he was 4 years old knew???? So what is that 21 years ago?
Posted by: Benedetta | December 10, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Okay: Boston is doing research on this in 2010 up to this May of 2011???
You have got to be kidding!
This is all new and exciting?
My son is 25 years old!
They were doing strobe lights on my kid back in the 90s. It did not show anything though because he was only 12 and not the required 14 as "Boston" is now saying. In his case it was certian video games at age 10 -- and before that it was at times natural sunlight.
Video games, - In the 80's the Japanese were complaining that their kids were having seizures from some certian type of video games.
Nothing new here?
Is this "Boston Children Hospital" -- that has suddenly had this revelation???(by the way "Boston" sponsored the website for Kawasakis that banned me)!
Posted by: Benedetta | December 10, 2011 at 09:50 AM