Seizures and Migraines: How Stripes Can Endanger Health

Migraines, epileptic seizures and the like: Why stripes are bad for your health
Almost every tenth German suffers from migraines. The violent complaints are triggered, among other things, by various triggers such as stress, pronounced emotions or overexertion. Researchers have now found that looking at stripes could also be responsible for migraines.

Different triggers for migraines
Those who suffer from migraines are often out of action. Throbbing, pounding and one-sided headaches are typical. Other complaints such as nausea and vomiting, dizziness and loss of appetite are often added. In addition, many of those affected are sensitive to noise and light. There are various factors (triggers) that can trigger migraines. So it is known that sudden stress, hormonal changes, pronounced emotions or overexertion and exhaustion can lead to the symptoms. As researchers now report, the pain can also be triggered by stripes.

Streaks can cause a headache
Be it the patterns of a shirt, barcodes, zebra stripes, blinds, lawn patterns or building facades: everywhere we see stripes. For some people, this can apparently lead to health problems.

As researchers from the University Hospital (UMC) Utrecht (Netherlands) and New York University (USA) have now discovered, viewing stripe patterns can trigger neuronal activity in the brain, which can lead to epileptic seizures in sensitive individuals.

The scientists believe that it could also be responsible for migraines.

According to a report by the British newspaper Telegraph, the study authors believe that streaks on clothing, buildings or public works of art could cause headaches, especially for people who are already sensitive to light.

Even strips of radiators, escalators, awnings or deck chairs could lead to seizures or an uncomfortable feeling.

Even healthy people can feel uncomfortable
"Our results suggest that when designing buildings, it may be important to avoid the types of visual patterns that activate this circuit and can cause discomfort, migraines, or seizures," said Dr. Dora Hermes from the University Hospital (UMC) Utrecht in the Netherlands.

"Even completely healthy people can feel slight discomfort with the pictures."

It has long been known that flickering or bright lights can trigger epileptic seizures or migraines. But scientists have now found for the first time that certain still images can also have a similar influence.

"The vertical orientation of the strips is generally worse than horizontal," said Dr. Dorothée Kasteleijn-Nolst Trenité from UMC Utrecht.

“Examples of striped patterns that are potentially provocative in everyday life are escalators, blinds, striped clothes, and buildings.”

The scientists published their results in the journal "Current Biology".

They believe that the reason stripes can be harmful is due to a certain pattern of neuronal activity in the brain known as gamma oscillations.

However, experts are controversial as to whether gamma oscillations are essential for perception and neuronal communication or whether they are a by-product of brain function. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Headache and Epileptic seizure Medical Symptom (January 2022).