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Melanie Loggins
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 154
From: Wayne, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2011

 - posted 11-08-2015 03:25 PM      Profile for Melanie Loggins   Author's Homepage   Email Melanie Loggins   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, we've never had to call 911, and this weekend we had to call twice, both times because someone had a seizure about 20 minutes into The Martian. Did anyone else have this happen?

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2253
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 11-08-2015 03:35 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We're in our sixth week of the Martian, and we have not had any problems like this. I haven't seen any news articles about this happening in other places.

For what it's worth, there were multiple reports of people suffering seizures during the birth scene in Twilght: Breaking Dawn Part 1. We had two people in the same day at my theatre, and there were multiple reports of it happening around the country.

How the 'Twilight' Movie Causes Seizures

Bad news for Twilight fans: apparently the new film "Breaking Dawn" is not only causing concern among film critics, but in a few cases it's causing seizures.

Kevin Dolak of ABC News reported that
Fans of the Twilight movies have much more to worry about other than the series of films coming to a close next year, as a scene in the latest installment has reportedly been causing viewers across the country to have seizures. Several instances of people saying they have developed seizures during the tense birthing scene in "Breaking Dawn: Part One" have been reported. The in-theater seizures, also known as photosensitive epilepsy, are thought to be a result of the bright flashing of red, black and white during the film's nerve-wracking scene. Brandon Gephart and Kelly Bauman had gone to see "Breaking Dawn: Part One" last Friday when Gephart began "convulsing, snorting, trying to breathe," according to Bauman. He doesn't remember anything, he says, but soon awoke on the theater floor and was taken out by paramedics. The remainder of the screening was canceled.

There are many things that can induce seizures, and one of them is patterns of bright flashing lights in the retinas of the eye. People who are susceptible to this typically have a condition called photosensitive epilepsy, or PSE. The incidence of PSE in the general population is estimated at about 1 in 5,000, though such scenes will not necessarily trigger seizures in everyone with PSE.
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This is of course not the first time that this has happened.

After several teens suffered seizures while playing Nintendo video games in the 1980s, the company began including warning labels on much of its software. The notice told users that the games' graphics and animation could cause a shigeki, a strong stimulation resulting in unconsciousness or seizures. A "Consumer Information and Precautions Booklet" that comes with the Game Boy product states:
WARNING: A very small portion of the population have a condition which may cause them to experience epileptic seizures or have momentary loss of consciousness when viewing certain kinds of flashing lights or patterns that are commonly present in our daily environment.…If you or your child experience any of the following symptoms: dizziness, altered vision, eye or muscle twitching, involuntary movements, loss of awareness, disorientation, or convulsions, DISCONTINUE USE IMMEDIATELY and consult your physician.

The most famous incident of flashing lights causing seizures occurred in December 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, when hundreds of people (mostly schoolchildren) went to hospitals complaining of various symptoms after watching an episode of the cartoon Pokémon.
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There was an element of mass hysteria to the Pokémon panic, in that only several hundred (out of over 10,000 kids who eventually sought treatment) actually had seizures associated with PSE.

Although the bright flashes seemed to be the likely culprit, the flashes had been used hundreds of times before without incident. The technique, called paka-paka, uses different-colored lights flashing alternately to create tension and is common in anime. Researchers believe the technique of flashing lights in the cartoon caused the problem, perhaps made worse by the alternating red/blue color pattern.

Most people won't be affected by the flashing lights in cartoons and films, and such seizures are typically scary but harmless unless the victim passes out and falls, or is driving. The best way to prevent PSE seizures is to cover your eyes for a few seconds until the flashing stops.

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Mark Hajducki
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 500
From: Edinburgh, UK
Registered: May 2003

 - posted 11-08-2015 08:26 PM      Profile for Mark Hajducki   Email Mark Hajducki   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The London 2012 Olympic logo caused issues in people with epilepsy (and taste).

from BBC News website

A segment of animated footage promoting the 2012 Olympics has been removed from the organisers' website after fears it could trigger epileptic seizures.

Prof Graham Harding, who developed the test used to measure photo-sensitivity levels in TV material, said it should not be broadcast again.

Charity Epilepsy Action said it had received calls from people who had suffered fits after seeing it.

Organiser London 2012 said it will re-edit the film.

The new logo for the event, which is a jagged emblem based on the date 2012, was unveiled on Monday.

A London 2012 spokeswoman said the health concerns surrounded a piece of animation shown at the launch, which was recorded by broadcasters and put on the official website.

Emphasising that it was not the logo itself which was the focus of worries, she said: "This concerns a short piece of animation which we used as part of the logo launch event and not the actual logo."

She said the section of footage concerned showed a "diver diving into a pool which had a multi-colour ripple effect".

The spokeswoman said: "We are taking it very seriously and are looking into it as a matter of urgency."

'Suffered seizure'

Prof Harding is an expert in clinical neuro-physiology and he designed a test which all moving adverts need to undergo to check they will not trigger a reaction in people with epilepsy.

He told BBC London 94.9FM: "It fails the Harding FPA machine test which is the machine the television industry uses to test images.

"And so it does not comply with Ofcom guidelines and is in contravention of them."

Christopher Filmer rang BBC London 94.9FM to say he suffered a seizure while watching the footage on television and his girlfriend also suffered a fit and needed hospital treatment.

"The logo came up on TV and I was thinking about the 2012 Games and then I was out," he said.

Epilepsy Action said the images could affect the 23,000 people in the UK who have photosensitive epilepsy.

It said it had even triggered breakthrough seizures where people have a relapse after being seizure-free for a long time.

A spokesman for the charity said: "The brand incorporates both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is ironic as the latter is a showcase for athletes with disabilities.

"People can strive for years to gain seizure control and it is important that nothing puts this at risk."

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