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Strobing stage lights could up risk of epileptic seizures

(Reuters Health) – Flashing light effects that have become the norm for electronic dance music concerts could bring on epileptic seizures in young people who may not know they have a vulnerability, Dutch researchers say. After treating a 20-year-old man with no history of epilepsy, who was brought to the emergency department following a seizure at a nighttime dance party, Newel Salet of the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam and his colleagues set out to assess whether such cases happen more often than realized. They analyzed data for more than 400,000 people who attended 28 electronic dance music concerts in The Netherlands in 2015, 60% of which were indoor or nighttime events. Organizers of EDM festivals should warn visitors of the risk of seizures in situations where strobe lights are expected, as is done for some video games and movies that have intense light effects, said Dr. “Nothing is completely reliable, but being aware of the potential for a problem, thinking ahead, and having a plan in place to reduce risk is important,” he said by email.

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