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article imageIs 'Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn' contributing to seizures?

By Leigh Goessl     Nov 27, 2011 in Health
The latest installment of the Twilight Saga was one of the most anticipated movie events this year. On its Nov. 18 debut moviegoers flocked to theatres to see this movie on the big screen.
However, some moviegoers have not quite had the experience they'd envisioned when they paid for their tickets to see "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1".
Currently the film is under some scrutiny for possibly contributing to seizures. The much-talked about birthing scene is reportedly the scene under question because of the red, white and black colors which flash rapidly on the screen. At least two men have reported instances of experiencing seizures during this same scene.
CBS 13 Sacramento reported a Calif. man went to see the movie with his girlfriend and began convulsing at the start of the birthing scene. Reportedly the man, Brandon Gephart, doesn't remember anything until waking up on the theatre floor, but his girlfriend, Kelly Bauman, said he was "convulsing, snorting, trying to breathe."
The showing was canceled and Gephart was taken to the an emergency room.
“He scared me big time,” Bauman said.
Another man, in Utah, said the graphic birthing scene prompted her husband's seizure. The local ABC affiliate said the man, who does not want to be identified in fear of losing his job, said the visual stimulation in the scene caused him to react.
"I didn't really remember what happened after that I think I blacked out. According to her [his wife], I was shaking and mumbling different noises," the man said.
His wife was sitting by his side, "He started mumbling and he was blinking on and off with his eyes at that point. I was kneeling in front of him slapping his face," she said.
A theatre manager confirmed the incident to ABC, however could not say whether the movie was the cause or not.
FOX 31 Denver reported, "Officially, two men claim to have had seizures while watching the third installment of the Twilight series. But you'll find a dozen or so others online saying it happened to them too."
The condition, which these moviegoers experienced, is known as photosensitive epilepsy, "characterized by seizures exclusively provoked by flashing, intermittent light, and visual patterns."
Neurologists will often tell patients who are at risk for seizures to avoid flashing, or strobe, lights.
ABC News reported, "There are many, many things that can induce seizures," said Dr. Dan Lowenstein, director of the University of California, San Francisco Epilepsy Center. "Certainly flashing lights are one trigger."
Besides blood, the birth of Edward and Bella's baby boasts flashing white light. Those flashes, at just the right frequency, can cause neurons in the brain to start firing in synch -- a deviation from their usual chaos. When the brain is functioning normally, there are neurons firing all over the place," said Lowenstein.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" reigned at the box office on Black Friday by with $16.9 million and its predicted the movie will earn $40 million for the first three days of its run in theatres.
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