NCBI ROFL: Epileptic seizures evoked by the Rubik’s cube.

By ncbi rofl | January 29, 2013 3:00 pm

“The magic cube,invented by the Hungarian architect Erno Rubik, is a three dimensional puzzle requiring the restoring of the scrambled coloured pieces of a 3x3x3 cube to their proper positions. We report on a patient whose seizures were precipitated predominantly and consistently when playing with the Rubik’s cube. A 30 year old businessman had experienced sudden transient jerky movements of the body, the right arm in particular, since the age of 15 years. The jerks occurred when he concentrated on a problem; doing arithmetic, checking cash accounts, and making decisions on business matters, were some common situations. An activity which consistently produced the jerks was playing the Rubik’s cube. Often the cube dropped out of his hands. The attacks were also associated with transient thought block. The jerks and the mental block made it difficult to proceed with a game. Following repeated jerks, on four occasions, he had become unconscious for periods lasting 15-20 minutes. After these “major’ attacks he gave up playing the cube. Card games and draughts (checkers) which he played occasionally did not cause jerks as far as he could remember. Neither did other activities such as reading, writing or watching television.”

Photo: flickr/Steve Rhodes

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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