Pokemon Seizures Linked to Epilepsy, Not TV
Children Who Had Seizures After Watching Cartoon Had Underlying Disease
July 21, 2004 -- New research suggests that the children in
Japan who suffered epileptic seizures after watching a popular Japanese TV
cartoon in 1997 would have probably developed seizures regardless of whether
they watched the program or not.
In an incident that drew worldwide attention in December 1997,
many children and some adults in Japan who were watching the popular television
cartoon Pokemon ("Pocket Monster") had epileptic seizures.
But a new report suggests that most children who suffered from
recurrent seizures after watching these cartoons already had a history of
epilepsy or an underlying condition that put them at risk for having
Seizures Linked to Disease, Not Cartoons
In a letter published in the July 22 issue of The New
England Journal of Medicine, researchers report on a five-year follow-up of
91 children who suffered seizures associated with Pokemon.
The children were divided into two groups: 24 who had a history
of epilepsy and 67 with no history of the disease.
Of the 91 children who suffered seizures associated with
watching the cartoon, 25 had repeat seizures, including 13 of the no-epilepsy
group and 12 of the epilepsy group.
Among those with no history of epilepsy, researchers found most
recurrences were in patients with a history of seizures associated with fevers
before age 12.
The study also showed that among children with epilepsy, those
who had seizures within the previous year or those who had a form of epilepsy
triggered by flashing lights or flickering patterns were more like to suffer
repeat seizures after the "Pocket Monster" event.