The Wii Helps Treat Epilepsy

Who would have thought a video game console featuring games with flashing lights could help treat children with epilepsy?

Who would have thought a video game console featuring games with flashing lights could help treat children with epilepsy? Doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, TX are using the Nintendo Wii to try to trigger seizures in children. “The Wii is yet another tool to make children tired [and] that’s one of the biggest triggers for seizures,” said Angel Hernandez, MD, pediatric neurologist. “The Wii not only helps doctors at Cook Children’s study seizures, it also benefits the patients.” Using the Wii, physicians can determine the length between seizures, and then select the best medication for a given patient based on what medication he or she was taking when a Wii-induced seizure occurred.

Video games can also induce seizures in 3-5% of patients who have photosensitive epilepsy (triggered by flashing lights). In order to decrease the possibility of an occurrence, many video game-producing companies like Microsoft and Nintendo have issued seizure warnings. If any patients and/or family members are concerned about video game-induced seizures, direct them to Epilepsy.com, where a list of signs to look for and suggestions on how to decrease the risk are posted. As a way to further protect children who have photosensitive epilepsy, The Epilepsy Foundation released new guidelines to help decrease the incidence of these seizures.

Have you ever used video games to purposefully induce seizures in a patient? If so, how did it help you when treating the patient? Do any of your patients have photosensitive epilepsy? In what ways do you treat them differently from your other patients?

Learn more

Report: PS3 Wipeout Failing Epilepsy Tests

Shedding Light on Photosensitivity, One of Epilepsy’s Most Complex Conditions

Video Game Induced Seizures: A Cause for Alarm?