In a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, a-25-year old male backcountry skier now experiences seizures when solving Sudoku puzzles after an avalanche burial damaged his brain via hypoxia (lack of oxygen).
This skier was rescued after being buried in an avalanche for 15-minutes which led to him experiencing Sudoku-induced seizures after his recovery. The relatively quick rescue limited the amount of brain damage that he suffered due to the burial, but he did suffer enough damage to acquire sodoku-induced seizures.
Brain damage usually occurs in buried avalanche victims due to a lack of oxygen to the brain during the period that he or she is under the snow. When buried in an avalanche, as time goes on, the severity of brain injuries usually increases.
The 25-year-old victim in this case suffered 15 minutes of generalized hypoxia, which is a situation in which the body is unable to distribute a sufficient amount of oxygen throughout the body.
“Cerebral hypoxia refers to a condition in which there is a decrease of oxygen supply to the brain even though there is adequate blood flow. Drowning, strangling, choking, suffocation, cardiac arrest, head trauma, carbon monoxide poisoning, and complications of general anesthesia can create conditions that can lead to cerebral hypoxia. Symptoms of mild cerebral hypoxia include inattentiveness, poor judgment, memory loss, and a decrease in motor coordination. Brain cells are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation and can begin to die within five minutes after oxygen supply has been cut off. When hypoxia lasts for longer periods of time, it can cause coma, seizures, and even brain death.” – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Soon after recovery, the victim of the avalanche began to experience short and involuntary twitching of the legs when walking and of the mouth when speaking. After a few weeks had pasted, he began to experience clonic seizures in his left arm while playing Sudoku and they would only stop when he stopped playing the logic-based puzzle.
Clonic seizures are unwanted continual and frequent jerkings of the muscles. According to Berend Feddersen, a researcher for Hopkin’s Medicine, “Typically following the tonic phase, the clonic phase will start as the muscles begin to spasm and jerk. The elbows, legs and head will flex then relax rapidly at first, but the frequency of the spasms will gradually subside until they cease altogether.”
Strangely, after five years passed, the victim hasn’t experienced any seizures since he cut-off his connection with Sudoku.