Sudoku puzzles involve a great deal of focus and mathematical skills to solve and are a bit tricky on the mind as well, but to the level of causing seizures? Well,this was the case with a 25 year old German man who suffers from muscle spasms and seizures whenever he tries to focus his brain activity on solving Sudoku puzzles.
The Accident Story
The story dates back to November 2008 when this young Germanphysical education student was on a skiing trip where he got trapped under an avalanche which knocked him out for a period of time. Luckily his ski companion was also a paramedic who applied first aid to the victim and started with CPR immediately. The 25 year old subject of the reported case suffered a hip fracture and a spleen injury because of the avalanche accident. Also, due to being buried in the snow, his brain and body tissues received minimal oxygen supply for some time, leading to a condition known as hypoxia.
Having been deprived of oxygen for 15 long minutes, his brain was greatly affected and he developed myoclonus jerks which are very sudden muscle jerks and twitches (like hiccups in normal life).These muscle twitches affected his speech and he was unable to walk normally due to the jerks.
During his stay at the hospital, the patient developed a case of spontaneous clonic seizures where his left arm muscles would stiffen and jerk suddenly in rhythmic spasms. An anti-epileptic medication was prescribed to avoid such muscle seizures.
Sudoku and Seizures, Hand in Hand
During his stay at the hospital, the patient enjoyed solving Sudoku puzzles to avoid boredom and depression due to lack of normal routine activities. It was only when he was moved to the rehabilitation centre,that he discovered that the seizures occurred every time he solved a Sudoku puzzle. The clonic seizures followed his engagement in the activity and he’d have muscle twitches in his left arm.
The 3D Imagination
As this was a surprising response to a mental puzzle, the case was studied in depth by the doctors and it was reported that the young German was suffering from seizures due to his 3D imagination. Imagining the numbers in a 3D format eased out the solving of the intricate puzzle by sorting them out and creating a sequence. Surprisingly the seizures did not occur when he was tested with other puzzles and math problems or while regular reading sessions.
The right centro-parietal of his brain experiences slower brain signaling which was caused due to the avalanche accident resulting in the death of inhibitory fibers of his brain. So, when using his intensified 3D imagination, this area of the brain gets over active and he suffers theseclonic seizures.
The more he solved Sudoku the more intensified his seizures were and so he had to bid farewell to his favorite pastime. Thanks to the timely diagnosis and proper medication, he has now been free from seizures for half a decade.