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Why Do Flashing Images Cause Seizures?

People with epilepsy often have seizures that are triggered by electronic devices or videos with flickering images. In a report in Smithsonian Magazine, the phenomenon is discussed, with questions centering on why patients with epilepsy have a 2- to 14 percent higher chance of having a seizure when exposed to these images.

While the science isn’t clearly understood, it is known that “brightness appears to be the most intense trigger,” the magazine says.

We also know that diet has a link to seizure susceptibility as well, and that modifications in diet can help. For example, it was found that among adult epileptics, 32 percent of those on a ketogenic diet and 29 percent of those on a modified Atkins diet reduced their seizures by about half.

To that end, a ketogenic diet is frequently used with children as a first line approach when medications fail. Basically, a ketogenic diet calls for minimizing carbohydrates and replacing them with healthy fats and moderate amounts of high-quality protein.

When medications are necessary but don’t seem to work, other research has shown that children with epilepsy can often find rapid relief using cannabis oil; about 25 percent experience a significant reduction in seizures within days or weeks. One caveat: There is limited information on using cannabis in children, so it’s important to know that these results do vary, and not every child will respond well in the immediate term, especially if their bodies are sensitized to other drugs.

It’s also been found that when epileptic patients improved their vitamin D levels, their seizures were reduced by an average of 40 percent.
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