Everyday stripes are causing epileptic seizures, says study

Stripes everywhere are triggering seizures in people with epilepsy, a new study has claimed.

The research, published by the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht in the Netherlands, believes stripes found just about anywhere, from in venetian blinds to zebra crossings, are causing medical issues.

It says looking at vertical lines can trigger a “neural loop of activity in the brain”, which can lead to epileptic seizures and migraines.

The scientists suggest that trivial items, such as decking, radiators, escalators, and even brickwork, are enough to trigger an attack.

Dr Dora Hermes, of UMC, said: “Our findings imply that in designing buildings, it may be important to avoid the types of visual patterns that can activate this circuit and cause discomfort, migraines, or seizures.

“Even perfectly healthy people may feel modest discomfort from the images that are most likely to trigger seizures in photosensitive epilepsy.”

“Vertical orientation of stripes are in general worse than horizontal,” added Dr Dorothée Kasteleijn-Nolst Trenité.

“Examples of striped patterns that are potentially provocative in daily life are rolling stairs, venetian blinds, striped clothes and buildings.”

Epilepsy affects around 600,000 people in the UK – or approximately one in every 100 people.

Epileptic seizures can be triggered by a variety of sources, including alcohol, flashing lights, tiredness, and stress.