Visual stimuli from blog caused anxiety and rage just now

PatJ

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Maybe we are on to a diagnostic tool?
Long ago I read somewhere that CFS lowers the seizure threshold in the brain. Maybe that page has a collection of elements that a normal brain can cope with, but which leads to partial brain seizures in some PWCFS? A neuro-opthalmologist thought that my extreme computer monitor/display/light sensitivity might be due to partial brain seizures.

The illusion set up by the dots would cause flicker in the peripheral vision as the visual focus moves around the page. Flicker is known to induce full or partial seizures in sensitive people, especially people with photo-sensitive epilepsy.
 

Sushi

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Flicker is known to induce full or partial seizures in sensitive people, especially people with photo-sensitive epilepsy.
Flickers bother me a great deal too. When I drive I keep a baseball cap in the car so that I can use the bill to block out flickering patterns of light, like the sun seen through a grove of trees as you drive past.
 

daisybell

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I think we can't filter out info, so we are totally overwhelmed when there's too much. I agree about flickering light, and also trying to filter sounds. And I pick books in the library by print size - if it's too small, it goes back on the shelf no matter how much I want to read it.

I've just downloaded an app called Fit Brains and tried the various games. The one called Focus is the one I'm worst on by quite a margin. It involves selecting matching shapes from an increasing number of other shapes. My brain really struggles with it, and I wouldn't want to practise it too much. I wonder if we would all show a similar pattern of results?
 

PatJ

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I think we can't filter out info...
High contrast patterns have always made me feel uncomfortable, even before CFS. It's hard for me to look at polka dots, stripes, or strong repeating patterns. Flickering lights are often nausea inducing, and I can even become unbalanced, with poor coordination throughout my body. I am also hypersensitive to very small details, such as typos in text, missing periods, or even double spaces between words.

The discomfort with patterns may indicate an already low seizure threshold for me, the problems with flicker are post CFS, and the sensitivity to typos may be related to not filtering out small details and is mostly post CFS.
 

Effi

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I've just downloaded an app called Fit Brains and tried the various games. The one called Focus is the one I'm worst on by quite a margin. It involves selecting matching shapes from an increasing number of other shapes. My brain really struggles with it, and I wouldn't want to practise it too much. I wonder if we would all show a similar pattern of results?
I tried the Lumosity Brain Games app a couple of weeks ago. Each game tests a different skill: memory, speed, concentration, ... There was also a game like the one you describe, selecting the one odd shape/color from a bunch of different shapes/colors. The whole thing was a complete disaster for me. It turns out training my brain makes me crash very quickly. There was not one game that I felt comfortable with.
 

Hip

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So if it has a rage-inducing quality, perhaps not a good idea to use these colored dots as wallpaper in a prison for violent offenders!



But seriously: I used to have a really horrible reaction to one of the sound idents used on the now defunct Current TV channel (Al Gore's channel). For me it was the most torturous sound ever invented; it used to get right under my skin. Hearing it was like putting a hot poker into my brain. The sound was literally less than two seconds long, but every time I heard it on that channel, it would cause me to reel — and then a few moments later I'd get really angry, because my brain was so badly affected.

My sound sensitivity is much improved these days, though, thanks in part to the drug amisulpride.
 

PatJ

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The sound was literally less than two seconds long, but every time I heard it on that channel, it would cause me to reel — and then a few moments later I'd get really angry, because my brain was so badly affected.
@Hip
My sound sensitivity is very selective. I get instant poor balance, poor coordination, nausea, brainfog, headache, loss of emotion (except irritability), sometimes chest pain and heart palpitations, and often anger. My trigger sounds are any sound from an electronic speaker (TV, phone, even white noise.) Another trigger is any sound that involves high-frequencies that aren't a pure tone. The longer I'm exposed to the sound, the worse I feel, and the longer it takes to feel normal again (up to three days sometimes.) I carefully avoid all trigger sounds and wear earplugs most of the day and night.

I have a similar visual problem as well. I can't look at a computer screen for longer than a minute without having a milder version of the audio effect mentioned above. The only way I can use a computer at the moment (and the past decade) is to use a very old display, low resolution, with light text on a dark background. Also, tube flourescent light bothers me somewhat, compact flourescents bother me a lot, super-bright LEDs and blue-tint vehicle headlights are so bad that I can be mistaken for intoxicated because it has such an effect on my balance and thinking.

I might as well add that vitamin-d dramatically increases all these effects, so I can't supplement with it. On the other hand, Lecithin and LDN have allowed me to increase computer use time.

Do you have any idea what could be going on in the brain to cause this? It seems to be more severe than usual CFS related hypersensitivity to visual and audible input. The rapidity of effect makes me wonder about a partial brain seizure (as speculated by the neuro-opthalmologist I mentioned in my previous post).

What dose of amisulpride are you taking?
 
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Hip

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@PatJ
For me, white noise-type sounds cause massive problems for my brain (or at least used, I am a bit better now).

The sound of the vacuum cleaner, the sound of a crowd of people cheering at a football match, the sound of a radio tuned in-between stations — these are all examples of white noise-type sounds, and they are all very problematic for my brain.

By definition, white noise contains a random melange of all frequencies, so perhaps trying to process that overloads the brain, leading to noise sensitivity problems.



My hunch is that the sound sensitivity problems (and probably visual sensitivity problems too) of ME/CFS may come from poor or dysfunctional sensory gating in the brain.

Sensory gating is the brain's "firewall", which when working normally, actively controls which stimuli from the senses and the environment are allowed into conscious awareness, and which stimuli are suppressed and blotted out of conscious awareness, because they are not relevant to you.

For example, if a healthy person hears a car alarm going off in the street, at first their sensory gating system will allow this sound into consciousness, because it is a new and possibly significant event. However, very soon the sensory gating system will suppress and blot out this sound, because the brain soon realizes this sound is of no importance (except of course if it were your own car alarm).

A normal healthy person will not consciously hear the ongoing car alarm after a minute or so; their sensory gating system blots it out, and the car alarm sound is relegated to the background of consciousness. A healthy person will thus become completely unaware of the sound after a while (at the conscious level).

But often for ME/CFS patients, an ongoing car alarm sound can become very unpleasant, because the sensory gating system is not working properly, and I think this fails to prevent extraneous irrelevant sounds from reaching and overloading consciousness. So then in ME/CFS, consciousness is overloaded, and you get this horrible feeling of the outside world intruding into your consciousness, intruding into the inner sanctum of your mind.

Sensory gating problems have been found in autism and schizophrenia, and one small study found sensory gating deficits in ME/CFS.




Why does very low dose amisulpride (12.5 mg daily) help the sound sensitivity problems / sensory gating deficits in ME/CFS?

I am not really sure. But possibly one explanation is that very low dose amisulpride (but not normal dose amisulpride) acts to activate the dopamine D2 (and D3) receptors.

Now the dopamine D2 receptor appears to be involved in processes related to focus and attention, and suppression of task-irrelevant behavior, and may act as a filter for unnecessary information. Ref: 1

So by activating D2, as very low dose amisulpride may help reduce brain overload by filtering out extraneous environmental stimuli.
 

allyann

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Bright, Flashing or moving lights and bright colours will trigger a migraine for me. I also cannot read books anymore, yet I can read on a computer screen.

I also cannot handle when people don't put in paragraphs, as I speed read (or read by pattern) and data gets 'lost' when it is not formatted correctly.

I recently had this conversation on an Autistic site where we discussed issues relating to processing written communications.
 

meandthecat

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As I see dots and blobs anyway I found myself shifting my gaze to clear the dot only to have it remain and then trying to line up my dots with their dots. Somewhere along the way I forgot what it was all about and moved away. Have the DWP missed a trick.