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Disney issues warning that Incredibles 2 may cause seizures


Incredibles 2, which has dominated the box office since its premiere on Friday, now comes with a health warning.

Walt Disney Pictures sent an advisory to theaters showing the film that scenes with flashing bright lights may cause seizures for those with epilepsy.

Moviegoers first sounded the alarm via social media that sequences with the movie’s villain, Screenslaver, feature strobe lights, which could trigger the medical condition. 

On Friday, theaters across the country began posting the signs at the box office after reports came in of fans suffering seizures midway through the film.

Walt Disney Pictures sent an advisory to theaters showing Incredibles 2 that scenes with flashing bright lights may cause seizures for those with photosensitive epilepsy

Walt Disney Pictures sent an advisory to theaters showing Incredibles 2 that scenes with flashing bright lights may cause seizures for those with photosensitive epilepsy

Moviegoers first sounded the alarm via social media that sequences with the movie's villain, Screenslaver, feature strobe lights, which could trigger the medical condition

Moviegoers first sounded the alarm via social media that sequences with the movie’s villain, Screenslaver, feature strobe lights, which could trigger the medical condition

The World Health Organization estimates that about 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.

Photosensitive epilepsy affects about three percent of those with epilepsy and is more common in children and teens.  

For patients with this condition, exposure to stimulation such as flashing lights at certain intensities or with certain visual patterns can trigger seizures, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. 

Lights that flash at five to 30 times per second are the most likely to trigger seizures, the group said.

WHAT IS EPILEPSY?  

There are a number of common misconceptions surrounding epilepsy.

People often think of it as a mental disorder. In fact, it is a physical neurological condition that does not affect the person’s day-to-day mental abilities. 

Epileptic seizures are triggered by a sudden interruption in the brain’s highly complex electro-chemical activity.

Although it can develop at any age, it is diagnosed most often before the age of 20 and after the age of 60. Men have a slightly higher likelihood of getting the condition than women.

Once diagnosed with epilepsy, a patient will be given a type of antiepileptic medication. This treatment controls seizures in up to 80 percent of patients. 

Often it’s a matter of trial and error to find the best drugs. 

Veronica Lewis, a student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, said that after seeing a screening of the movie on Wednesday night, she suffered a migraine.

‘I haven’t seen this mentioned in a lot of places, but the new Incredibles 2 movie (#incredibles2) is filled with tons of strobe/flashing lights that can cause issues for people with epilepsy, migraines, and chronic illness,’ she wrote on Twitter on Friday night.

Lewis, who has a vision impairment and photosensitive migraines due to a brain condition called Chiari malformations, broke down the flashing light scenes.

She explained that the movie’s villain uses bright flashing lights as a ‘weapon of choice’ to distract anyone attempting to attack, making the lights integral to the plot.

‘I am not calling for a boycott of Incredibles 2, or to change the movie. It is very well done, and the strobe lights are an important point in the plot,’ Lewis tweeted. 

Disney seemed to hear social media users’ concerns as seen later that day when theaters across the country began posting signs warning Incredibles 2 fans about the lights.

‘Incredibles 2 contains a sequence of flashing lights which may affect customers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or other photo sensitivities,’ the signs read.

Lewis later posted pictures of the signs she saw on Twitter and sent a message of thanks to Disney.   

‘I would like to thank @DisneyPixar and @DisneyStudios for listening to people’s concerns and putting up warnings for the flashing lights in #Incredibles2,’ she tweeted on Sunday.

‘It is an INCREDIBLE movie, and people can now make an informed decision either to watch the movie now or wait for the DVD.’ 

One fan explained that the movie's villain, Screenslaver (pictured), uses bright flashing lights as a 'weapon of choice' to distract anyone attempting to attack, making the lights integral to the plot

One fan explained that the movie’s villain, Screenslaver (pictured), uses bright flashing lights as a ‘weapon of choice’ to distract anyone attempting to attack, making the lights integral to the plot

Veronica Lewis, a student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, tweeted and blogged about the migraine she suffered after the movie and asked Disney to post warnings at cinemas showing the movie 

Veronica Lewis, a student at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, tweeted and blogged about the migraine she suffered after the movie and asked Disney to post warnings at cinemas showing the movie 

Experts suggest that those with photosensitive epilepsy can reduce their risk of seizures by watching the film with the lights on or sitting further away from the screen

Experts suggest that those with photosensitive epilepsy can reduce their risk of seizures by watching the film with the lights on or sitting further away from the screen

Dr Shlomo Shinnar, president of the American Epilepsy Society and a neurologist at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, told CNN that those with photosensitive epilepsy can reduce their risk of seizures by watching the film with the lights on or sitting further away from the screen.  

Incredibles 2 took in $183.2 million at the box office during its opening weekend, making it the second biggest ever June debut in the US behind only Jurassic World, and the biggest opening for an animated feature ever.



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