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September 1964

Television And Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University and the Neurological Institute, Presbyterian Hospital, New York.

Arch Neurol. 1964;11(3):239-247. doi:10.1001/archneur.1964.00460210017002

Introduction  Visual stimuli of various types have long been known to precipitate epileptic attacks. The best known of these stimuli are those consisting of a flickering light, such as the potter's wheel,1 the rotating blades of a helicopter,2 or the shafts of light which strike a driver along a tree-lined road.3 Less frequent as precipitants are the sudden access of bright light (as when a patient suddenly looks upon bright snow),4 or more complexly patterned stimuli, such as those described by Bickford et al.5It was not long before television-viewing was inculpated as a precipitant of epileptic attacks. Of the adequately reported cases, 55* are in the European literature,6-16 and only three in the United States.17 It is the purpose of the present paper to add nine new cases from the United States, to examine the factors responsible for the production of "television-epilepsy,"

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