Monday, November 10, 2008

Television, epilepsy, and children

When I first read the title to this abstract I knew I had to use it in the blog. Here scientists have determined that television exposure can cause epilepsy in some children...and instead of working to minimize exposure to the trigger, they're looking for a pill that allows the child to continue the behavior causing the problem.

I could tell you what medication was found to be most effective, but that would make me part of the problem. If you're a parent who knows your kid's brain doesn't tolerate television...get rid of the television and teach him how to otherwise spend his free time! Here's a concept, interact with him like parents used to do in the old days.

That's kind of how we do things anymore, isn't it?

We know too much food can cause weight gain, but rather than stop eating...we spend billions of dollars looking for ways to allow us to, quite literally, have our cake and eat it too.

We know we need a minimum amount of sleep in order to properly function. But in this day and age of 24 hour schedules, a whole new pharmaceutical specialty has sprung up, medications that drive wakefulness in people who simply need to make more time for sleep.

Instead of suggesting to the parents of these children that they might best be encouraged to learn to play the piano, play a sport, or, God forbid...READ...we want to figure out how to medicate the kids so they stay on our revenue-generating map.

I give up. But what I would like to request, if we're going to encourage studies like this one and call it science, is that we at least make the study designs interesting for the reader.

I mean, if kids who probably shouldn't be watching television are allowed to watch television anyway because they're another important profit niche for certain drug manufacturers, wouldn't it be more important to know whether Sesame Street or Spongebob Squarepants is more effective at creating seizures? Seems to me that kind of information could be really important when it comes to marketing plans. Not just for the drug companies but all those companies who love to use those programs to sell junk to kids, who need to hold on to their audience.

The best part is going to be when Bert and Ernie are called to testify in court. Now THAT will be television worth watching.

Etemadifar M, Raoufi M, Maghzi AH, Ebrahimi A, Kaji-Esfahani M, Mousavi SA. Television-provoked epilepsy in children: a follow-up survey from isfahan, iran. Arch Iran Med. 2008 Nov;11(6):649-53.

1 comment:

Live Well said...

This is absurd! Are they seriously developimng a pill for this? Us parents trying to raise our kids correctly now have mone more bullet to dodge! Lucky for me my kids aren't intersted in the T.V.