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Video Game-Induced Theta Rhythm

Sener, Ugur*; McKay, Jake H.; Feyissa, Anteneh M.; Tatum, William O.

Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: September 2019 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 389–391
doi: 10.1097/WNP.0000000000000575
Case Report
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Summary: Smartphones and other personal electronic devices present novel cortical processing tasks with potential for identification of novel EEG waveforms. A 17-year-old patient with epilepsy manifested as recurrent myoclonic seizures, absence seizures, and a single generalized tonic–clonic seizure was hospitalized to undergo video-EEG monitoring for seizure quantification and classification of the epilepsy syndrome. During the monitoring session, a frontocentral predominant 5 to 6 Hz theta rhythm was identified only when the patient was actively texting or playing a video game on his smartphone. Previously, patients with focal epilepsy have been found to have a frontocentral theta rhythm on EEG while texting on mobile devices. We report similar EEG findings in a patient with genetic generalized epilepsy during smartphone gaming to expand the population and triggers for this theta waveform. Given the young age and type of epilepsy, we suggest that the waveform represents the EEG manifestation of the attention–visuomotor pathway that is stimulus independent.

*Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, New York, New York, U.S.A.; and

Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to William O. Tatum, DO, Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, 4500 San Pablo Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32224; e-mail: Tatum.William@mayo.edu.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2019 by the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society