• Electronic screen game–induced seizure (ESGS);
  • Photosensitivity;
  • Pattern-reversal stimulation;
  • Intermittent photic stimulation;
  • Visual perception

Summary:  Purpose: With the ever-increasing popularity of computers, electronic screen game–induced seizure (ESGS) is beginning to pose a serious social problem. To elucidate the pathophysiology of ESGS, with the ultimate goal of prevention, we have been studying photo-pattern sensitivity in detail with a pattern-stimulation test using a CRT (cathode ray tube) display. This method is referred to as the “CRT-pattern test.”

Methods: We studied 17 patients brought to our department for evaluation of ESGS. EEG responses were recorded during exposure to various patterns consisting of three elements: spatial resolution, brightness perception, and pattern-movement recognition displayed on a CRT monitor. Photo-paroxysmal response (PPR) frequencies were compiled for each stimulation.

Results: PPR was induced by the CRT-pattern test in nine of the 17 cases. In four cases, PPR induction was obtained only after introducing CRT-pattern tests in addition to standard intermittent photic stimulation (IPS). The rate of PPR induction differed according to the type of pattern, spatial frequency, and pattern-reversal frequency. However, neither the clarity of the edges of a pattern nor changes in the brightness of a pattern element had any effect on the rate of PPR induction. With the exception of a few subjects, the stimulation caused by pattern movement was not effective in eliciting PPR. Six cases in whom spatial resolution was involved showed occipital dominance in PPR provocation, and three in whom brightness perception and pattern movement recognition was involved showed frontal dominance.

Conclusions: The CRT-pattern test is useful for identifying patients with photosensitivity among patients considered to have incidental or nonphotosensitive seizures unresponsive to standard IPS. Patients with ESGS caused by photosensitivity can be divided into two groups: those with occipital dominance for PPR provocation, in whom spatial resolution is involved; and another group with frontal dominance, in whom brightness perception and pattern-movement recognition (or possibly perception of colors) are involved.