John Libbey Eurotext

Screen sensitivity in photosensitive children and adolescents: patient-dependant and stimulus-dependant factors Volume 9, issue 1, March 2007


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Klinik für Neuropädiatrie, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Childrens’s Hospital Amsterdamer Strasse (Riehl), Riehl, Germany

Television viewing is the most frequent cause of photogenic attacks in daily life. In the present study, we examined 48 photosensitive children and adolescents to find out: 1) whether hypersynchronous activity is induced less often by viewing a PC monitor than a television screen and 2) whether certain images are more likely to cause hypersynchronous activity than others. All subjects were tested for sensitivity to intermittent photic stimulation (IPS) and to a black and white striped pattern on cards. Additionally, all were subjected to stimuli from four different images (vertical black and white striped pattern, geometric figures, text, and a painting by Max Pechstein – 1913, Italian church), presented on a television screen (with an image regeneration frequency of 50 Hz) and on PC screens (with regeneration frequencies of 48 and 100 Hz). A total of 21 non-photosensitive, healthy children and adolescents served as controls. Of the 48 photosensitive subjects 13% were also pattern sensitive (cards), and 33% exhibited screen sensitivity. No differences were found between the three monitor types. However, the hypersynchronous reactivity to the four images presented was significantly different, with high contrast vertical striped pattern being the most provocative. Non-photosensitive subjects did not react to any of the stimuli. The results of the present study show that screen-dependant factors are less important than image-dependant factors.