New London Olympic logo triggers epilepsy scare
Published Wednesday, June 6, 2007 5:17PM EDT
An animation featuring London's 2012 Olympics logo was removed from the official website on Tuesday after concerns were expressed it could trigger epileptic seizures.
Ten people complained and some had suffered seizures after watching images depicting a diver plunging into a pool, according to British health charity Epilepsy Action.
The Olympic group said it has taken steps to remove the animation from the website
"The flashing lights or the patterns drive rhythmic discharges in the brain which leads to seizures and convulsions," explained Dr. Berge Minassian, a neurologist specializing in epilepsy at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
Minassian said one in 10,000 children experience seizures after viewing stroboscopic (flashing) lights.
"And a smaller rate, maybe one in 50,000 children, will have seizures when there are patterns that are moving in front of them," Minassian told CTV Newsnet in an interview. "So this may be cause for concern."
What worries experts is the potentially large number of people who would see the animation, leading to possibly hundreds of cases of seizures and convulsions unless the animation was pulled.
"The best previous example of this is the Pokemon (cartoon) which was happening in Japan in 1997," said Minassian. "About 580 Japanese children had seizures when that was shown because of the rapid flashing lights."
"These are normal people who wouldn't have seizures otherwise," he added.
The graffiti-like logo, made up of four jagged pieces that form the numbers 2012 in a variety of colours, was unveiled Monday. Within hours, an online petition went up, asking for a new design.
Chief organizer Sebastian Coe said the design was aimed at attracting young people
With a report from the Associated Press