Selfies may increase epileptic seizures risk

Source: CNN

Scientists have raised the alarm about the danger behind taking selfies, warning that it could cause epileptic seizure responses for some people.

This development emerged from doctors at Dalhousie University in Canada, who were conducting a routine assessment of epilepsy in young people.

They discovered two sudden bursts of brain activity in one teenage girl.

The activity happened at the exact moments the teenager took selfies on her smartphone, and were the type of brain responses doctors would expect to see during epileptic seizures.

A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or camera phone held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick.

‘Yahoohealth’ reported that the doctors believe the teenager’s seizures could have been caused by her phone’s flash or, more likely, the flashing red light designed to reduce red eyes in the pictures.

According to the National Health Service, NHS, in England, flashing lights are an uncommon seizure trigger and affect only five per cent of patients with epilepsy.

People with this condition, known as photosensitive epilepsy, are at risk of having a seizure when exposed to shimmering day light, strobe lights, and flickering lights at certain frequencies on television or computer screens. While shimmering day light means weak day light, a strobe lights a is a device used to produce regular flashes of light.

More studies will be needed to confirm whether “selfie epilepsy” is a proven phenomenon, but the doctors said that their findings are an important reminder of why taking selfies in potentially dangerous circumstances, such as while driving, should be avoided by everyone.

Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They are usually flattering and made to appear casual.