An odd effect to a tragic event has been noted when doing a Sudoku puzzle caused seizures in a student due to an overactivation of the brain.
- The 25 year old man was skiing in 2008 when he was caught under an avalanche
- He was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes
- When he tried doing a Sudoku puzzle after, he experienced seizures in his left arm
- This was due to the damage of a particular area in the brain that handles 3D visualization
Sudoku is viewed as challenging for beginners, but it’s often criticized as becoming far too easy for those more experienced. It can effectively become a simple matter of association between columns when the basic tricks are understood. The patterns become easy to figure out, and it’s no longer such a strain on the brain.
However, that may never come to be for the 25 year old German man, who will be suffering from seizures every time he makes an attempt.
The man was skiing with a friend in November 2008, when an avalanche happened on the mountain. He was fortunate enough that his companion was a paramedic, who managed to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) after he fell unconscious. However, unfortunately that did not save him from harsher consequences.
The man suffered from a ruptured spleen and a fractured hip, but the long term effects were more gravely felt. During the avalanche, the student was buried underneath snow and suffered from oxygen deprivation. This is known as hypoxia, when both the body tissue and brain get far too little, and results in damage.
He began developing a type of seizure called spontaneous tonic clonic seizures that were controlled through anti-epileptic medication.
According to Dr. Berend Feddersen, a neurologist in Germany, after the man was treated for his injuries, he was sent to a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery. However, when he tried to solve a Sudoku puzzle, he experienced stiffening and jerks within the muscles in his left arm.
The same type of seizures returned when he attempted at solving a Sudoku puzzle. It didn’t occur in any other kind of mathematical or logic-based tests.
Researchers found that the oxygen deprivation led to damage caused to a particular area of the brain. More specifically, it caused the death of inhibitory fibers, in the right centro-parietal region in the man’s brain. This resulted in a very intense three dimensional perspective, that was activated when he worked on the puzzle.
According to Feddersen, in order to solve a Sudoku, the man uses an area in the brain specific for visual-spatial tasks. The usually leisure activity results in the activation of that region, but due to the lower number of inhibitory fibers, it leads to an overactivation in the brain. That caused the seizures in the left arm.
Luckily, the student did not feature a similar consequence to more common day-to-day activities. Needless to say though, he has since given up Sudoku.
Image source: dispatchtimes.com