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Photosensitive Epilepsy: Photosensitive epilepsy is a type of reflex epilepsy where exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures. Photosensitive epilepsy is more common in children and adolescents, especially those with generalized epilepsy and with certain epilepsy syndromes such as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy and epilepsy with eyelid myoclonia (Jeavon’s syndrome). It becomes less frequent with age, with relatively few cases in the mid-twenties. Many people are not aware they are sensitive to flickering lights or to certain kinds of patterns until they have a seizure. They may never go on to develop epilepsy with spontaneous seizures. They could only have seizures triggered by certain photic (light) conditions. Examples of triggers may include television screens, computer monitors, intense strobe lights, and certain visual patterns. (Learn more)

Light Therapy for Epilepsy: Epilepsy affects about 2 million people in the United States, and current treatments for the chronic neurological disorder are ineffective for more than a third of cases. But a technique that uses light to activate brain cells could stop seizures in their tracks, research suggests. A team of scientists injected light-sensitive proteins into the neurons of epileptic mice, then shone light on those cells to stop the animals from having seizures. Known as optogenetics, this method of stimulating the brain using light was developed relatively recently, but it is already being widely used to tinker with brain activity for a variety of applications in mice and other laboratory animals. Previous studies have successfully used optogenetic stimulation to stop seizures in animals bred to have different types of seizures. (Learn more)