Stripes are ubiquitous in modern life, from City shirts and barcodes, to Venetian blinds and zebra crossings But a new study suggests they might be making us ill. Scientists in the Netherlands and the US have discovered that for some people, simply looking at vertical lines, either on a static image, or in real life, can trigger a neural loop of activity in the brain. In severe cases it can lead to epilepsy, but researchers think it might also be responsible for migraines. Around one in seven people suffer migraines in Britain and the cause if often unknown. But the study authors believe that stripes in clothing, buildings or public artworks could be triggering disabling headaches, particularly in people who are already sensitive to light. They suggest decking, radiators, escalators, repetitive brickwork and even the stripes on awnings or deckchairs could set off attacks, seizures, or just a vague feeling of unease. “Our findings imply that in designing buildings, it may be important to avoid the types of visual patterns that can activate this circuit and cause discomfort, migraines, or seizures,” said Dr Dora Hermes of the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht in the Netherlands. “Even perfectly healthy people may… Read full this story
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