Author(s): Kwan SY, Su MS
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Flickering light and color patterns, reading, language, movement, decision making, eating, tapping and touching, hot water immersion and auditory stimulation can induce seizures in some patients. This is known as "reflex epilepsy". The mechanism of reflex epilepsy is not clear. Recently, we cared for 12 patients (11 men and 1 woman, age 41-74 years; mean age = 63.1 years) whose seizures were induced by playing mah-jong, with mean age at seizure onset of 48.7 years. Nine of the 12 patients had seizures exclusively while playing mah-jong. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 12 epileptic patients who visited our neurologic clinic from 1987 to 1999, with the chief complaint of mah-jong induced seizures. All patients underwent examinations including electroencephalography, brain computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, analysis of clinical manifestation of seizures, family history and past medical history. All were given anticonvulsant therapy for preventing seizures. RESULTS: Clinically, 10 patients had generalized tonic-clonic seizures and two patients had partial seizures with secondary generalization. Interictally, normal results on EEG were found in six patients, three had focal temporal spikes, and three had intermittent slow activity in the frontotemporal regions. Neuroimaging studies of the brain were normal in seven patients, two had lacunar infarctions, one had generalized atrophy and one had focal left parietal lesions of an unclear nature. Only one patient had a family history of epilepsy. All 12 patients received anticonvulsant therapy, and of these, nine had good epilepsy control. CONCLUSIONS: "Mah-jong epilepsy," a new reflex epilepsy, is probably related to thinking and decision making while playing mah-jong. The easy control of seizures induced by mah-jong suggests a benign nature. In addition to anticonvulsant therapy, avoiding playing mah-jong may be essential in preventing seizures.
This article was published in Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei)
and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry