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Intense ‘Twilight’ Scene Triggers Seizure Reports

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ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — A local man says the latest movie in the popular ‘Twilight’ franchise triggered a seizure, and similar incidents have been reported in theaters around the country.

Brandon Gephart and Kelly Bauman said they were watching “Breaking Dawn: Part One” at a theater Friday night when Brandon sudden began convulsing during a graphic birthing scene.

Brandon said he doesn’t remember anything until he woke up on the theater floor, but Kelly said he was, “convulsing, snorting, trying to breathe.”

“He scared me big time,” she added. Paramedics transported the man to the emergency room and the theater had to cancel the rest of the movie for that showing.

Several reports on internet movie sites show reports of other people suffering similar symptoms during the same scene, which contains flashes of red, black and white. Dr. Michael G. Chez, the medical director of pediatric neurology and epilepsy for Sutter Sacramento, said the reports indicate the scene may be triggering an episode of photosensitive epilepsy.

While rare, the condition can be triggered by flashing red lights in people who are genetically predisposed.

“It’s like a light switch going off, because it hits your brain all at once,” Dr. Chez said.

Similar reports resulted after a 1990s episode of the television show Pokémon, which triggered seizures in children. Manufacturers have revamped modern television and video games so screens don’t project the dangerous light frequency, Dr. Chez said.

“The trouble with theaters, it’s dark, the lights flashing in there is more like a strobe light,” he added.

A single seizure should not cause long-term damage to most patients, Dr. Chez said. Wearing sunglasses with cheap blue lenses can filter the red light for moviegoers who want to be on the safe side.

Brandon is being checked out by a specialist. Kelly said Brandon has fulfilled his duty as a boyfriend and won’t need to see any more “Twilight” movies with her.

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