Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


May cause seizures.
January 18, 2008 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Hip-hop artist Sean Paul suspected to cause grand mal seizures in woman. Stacey Gayle, a 25-year old epileptic, had grand mal seizures nearly every time she heard Paul's hit "Temperature." She listened to the song on her iPod in front of doctors. Soon after, she suffered three seizures.

From the article, "Eighteen months ago, she began to suspect that music by reggae and hip-hop artist Sean Paul was triggering some of her seizures. She recalled being at a barbecue and collapsing when the Jamaican rapper's music started playing, and then remembered having a previous seizure when she heard his music."

She had surgery to correct the rare condition, and now can listen to bad dancehall anytimes she wants.
posted by uaudio (84 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's funny, because Ron Paul has the same effect on me.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:59 AM on January 18, 2008 [11 favorites]


For me, it's RuPaul.
posted by Floydd at 9:02 AM on January 18, 2008


Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
Stop doing that.
posted by kjs3 at 9:03 AM on January 18, 2008



Proposed solutions:
1) Expensive surgery
2) $3 ear plugs, and the removal of all offending songs from the iPod.

Health Insurance Companies, for the win.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:03 AM on January 18, 2008


Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:03 AM on January 18, 2008


jean paul does it to me.
posted by spish at 9:04 AM on January 18, 2008


Bathtub Bobsled: She's Canadian... didn't cost her a dime.
posted by spish at 9:05 AM on January 18, 2008


Having not heard the song in question, is there any explanation why this particular song caused her to have seizures? Is there something in it that is the audio equivalent of flashing lights?
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:06 AM on January 18, 2008


Now that surgeons have operated on Stacey Gayle's brain, her favorite musician no longer makes her ill.

And suddenly she realizes that without the seizures, the music really no longer holds her appeal.

Yeah, she was that hard-core.
posted by quin at 9:07 AM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually not that strange at all. She just has a group of neurons in the auditory area of her brain that trigger seizures. These are related to memories of Sean Paul songs, or perhaps in dectecting the specific frequencies his voice is rich in.

Proposed solutions:
1) Expensive surgery
2) $3 ear plugs, and the removal of all offending songs from the iPod.

Health Insurance Companies, for the win.


People who've never had a grand mal seizure would say something like that.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:07 AM on January 18, 2008 [8 favorites]



spish...

Even if its on the government's tab, it still cost more than a couple loonies.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:08 AM on January 18, 2008


Stacey Gayle, a 25-year old epileptic, had grand mal seizures nearly every time she heard Paul's hit "Temperature." She listened to the song on her iPod in front of doctors. Soon after, she suffered three seizures.

So...epileptic and a masochist?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:11 AM on January 18, 2008


Bathtub: I agree that the surgery was expensive, of course it cost a bundle. However, the $3 ear plugs would have cost her more, out of pocket.
posted by spish at 9:13 AM on January 18, 2008


Uh, no, spish. She should wear earplugs all the time on the off-chance she hears a certain song or music? Unduly hard. I'm glad she got better, interesting display of a seizure disorder, to be sure.
posted by agregoli at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2008


what Ironmouth said.

Although I'm totally amused by the idea of Sean Paul causing seizures. What better press can you get?
posted by LMGM at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2008


Huh. You know who else (may have) had musicogenic epilepsy? That's right, Joan of Arc.
posted by yhbc at 9:20 AM on January 18, 2008


That's not a seizure, it's just a crazy dance that the kids are doing, with the flopping and the shaking and the drooling and the EYE ROLLING.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:21 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. I wonder if it's the beat, the timbre, or the memories.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:22 AM on January 18, 2008


We be gurnin'
posted by fire&wings at 9:24 AM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


There was a similar case a few years back, which was caused instead by Mary Hart.
posted by CaseyB at 9:24 AM on January 18, 2008


Actually, MetaFilter sometimes gives me seeial;jgknnl;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
posted by brain_drain at 9:29 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


People who've never had a grand mal seizure would say something like that.

Seconded. Also, they aren't called "grand mal" seizures anymore; most people call them tonic-clonic seizures now. (Disclosure: I'm epileptic and don't care, but 'grand mal' rubs a lot of people with the disorder the wrong way.)
posted by The Bellman at 9:31 AM on January 18, 2008


Tonic-clonic seizure is the more operative term. What makes this significant is that, so far as I know (and I'm just a layman so I could be wrong) this is the first reported case of auditory stimulus for Tonic-clonic seizures that could be repeated in front of medical personel. Up until now, such reports are like talk about ESP. Trying to prove it consistently led to many people scratching their heads and many more people scoffing at the possibility.

If this woman gets seizures EVERY TIME that song is played, without fail, it could lead to a breakthrough in neurochemistry and the treatment of epilepsy.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:36 AM on January 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Even if its on the government's taxpayers' tab.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:37 AM on January 18, 2008


Your Favorite Band Sucks so bad people can't endure it without brain surgery.

DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:38 AM on January 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


In related news, many females report sudden micturation upon beholding the Notorious B.I.G.
posted by freebird at 9:41 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


doctor, i just can't get this song out of my head
posted by pyramid termite at 9:43 AM on January 18, 2008


Didn't apple use that song in an iPod commercial?
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:43 AM on January 18, 2008


Also, for the curious, the song in question
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:44 AM on January 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Someone should do a mashup of that song with some Mary Hart clips. It would probably kill the poor girl.
posted by post punk at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2008


The same thing happens to me when I hear ....Pre-packaged boy bands...American Idol
singers....B. Spears...J. Timberwolf...Bad DJ's....etc..etc.
posted by doctorschlock at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2008


I fucking love this song.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:49 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


My only reaction when I heard this:

He is going to be SO PROUD.
posted by koeselitz at 10:05 AM on January 18, 2008


Turns out that she really only had the rockin' pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:06 AM on January 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


His affected Jamaican accent sometimes make me spontaneously scream profanities. Then I have to listen to Death Metal to cleanse my brain palette.
posted by hellslinger at 10:06 AM on January 18, 2008


Well, my second reaction:

This is a VERY DANGEROUS subject for MeFi, and I'll be very surprised if the thread isn't hideous.
posted by koeselitz at 10:07 AM on January 18, 2008


Must have been the fake accent. I swear that guy's accent is fake.
posted by cashman at 10:07 AM on January 18, 2008


That video that Uther Bentrazor linked to is pretty excellent as well:

Now eat, mmyum, the steamed fish by nooby banana....

I wanna be keeping you, worm.


Brilliant.
posted by quin at 10:13 AM on January 18, 2008


He's JAMAICAN, dumbasses. You're confusing him with Snow.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:18 AM on January 18, 2008


what's wrong with fake accents? most bands sings rock music with fake accents. it's so common you don't even notice.
posted by bhnyc at 10:35 AM on January 18, 2008


Well, this seems like a perfect reason to never play that song again. Anywhere. Ever.
posted by papercake at 10:46 AM on January 18, 2008


Not to derail, but two questions:

1) Why is the term "grand mal" now out of favor? I know that this sort of thing happens all the time - medical terminology is changed for a variety of reasons - but am curious as to what prompted this change. I don't see anything obviously weird about the term, but admittedly know nothing about where it came from, historically or lexicologically.

2) Holy white bread on a stick, Snow still exists? I thought we were done with that reggae-flavored Vanilla Ice replicant in like 1993 or something.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:48 AM on January 18, 2008


Although I hadn't heard the term "musicogenic epilepsy", I'm really surprised that seizures triggered by music are apparently so unusual. I generally describe myself as a photosensitive epileptic, but my triggers have always included more than just flashing lights; pretty much anything ... vibrational or periodic (there's probably a better word), whether visual, auditory, or just something I can physically feel, can set off complex partials. And none of the neurologists I've dealt with over the last 12-15 years ever indicated that my experience was singular.

The key for me seems to be the frequency. I started to listen to the song in question, which I was unfamiliar with, and did have an aura; even on my cheap speakers the reverberating bass notes were problematic. I couldn't have listened to the whole song. I run into that with a lot of music, though, at least songs with the bass turned up.
posted by worldswalker at 10:58 AM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


*seizes*
posted by psmealey at 10:59 AM on January 18, 2008


what's wrong with fake accents?

I never tried to pretend to have an accent that I never had. So won't you stay a while. Come hear the freestyle.
posted by cashman at 11:10 AM on January 18, 2008


cashman has the legendarily-rare all-Chuck-D edition of Bartlett's.
posted by box at 11:19 AM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, they aren't called "grand mal" seizures anymore; most people call them tonic-clonic seizures now.

Please. When you mean "I and many who suffer from the condition prefer that they be called tonic-clonic seizures," say that. Lying about actual usage does not help your cause.
posted by languagehat at 11:21 AM on January 18, 2008


Language, I respect you and your posts, and we can argue prescriptive/descriptive all you want, but you're simply wrong here. Paging Ikkyu2 if you want to hear it from a doctor rather than an epileptic, but "grand mal" is imprecise and disfavored.
posted by The Bellman at 11:27 AM on January 18, 2008


The Bellman: languagehat isn't talking about doctors, he's talking about "most people."
posted by agentofselection at 11:49 AM on January 18, 2008


Not that Le Grand Chapeau needs me to speak on his behalf, but I believe his point is that "most people" do not in fact use the term "tonic-clonic" because that term is even more unfamiliar than "grand mal". I think you'll also find that most people say "retarded" instead of "mentally disabled", even if the former is now considered insensitive, because that's the term they're used to. That is not to say of course, that it's the term used by medical professionals or those familiar with the condition.

On preview, what agentofselection said.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:51 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I myself refer to it as a "gin and tonic colonic" seizure.

And yes, Snow still exists. I actually saw a poster advertising his performance in some local regee festival a few years back - I believe it was on Bathurst just north of King. Of course, he is Canadian and I guess we gotta go with whatever, uh, "rappers" we have. Or something.
posted by GuyZero at 12:00 PM on January 18, 2008


Yo yo yo Sean Paul your rhymes be illin'!

No? Too white?

I apologize.
posted by Bonzai at 12:01 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I agree that it would have been more precise to say "they are called" rather than "most people say", but it would also have been ruder, which I try to avoid. So yes, it was wrong to say "most people" and I apologize to LH for the grave offense that must have cause him. By the way (and this is somewhat surprising) googling "grand mal" gives 546,000 results; "tonic-clonic" gives 528,000. Since the terminology is relatively new I would have expected "grand mal" to win that (admittedly enormously imprecise) contest handily, but it doesn't.

Finally (I can't believe I'm arguing about this), look at LH's post:

When you mean "I and many who suffer from the condition prefer that they be called tonic-clonic seizures," say that. Lying about actual usage does not help your cause.

That's frankly offensive. Lying? You're going to call me a liar over this just to get your snark on? Isn't that a little petty?

I plainly didn't mean that, and if LH had read the post he would have known it. As I said in the post, I don't personally care (I've responded to a few AskMe posts about epilepsy and I hope my attitude is pretty clear in them) and I wouldn't presume to speak for "many who suffer from the condition" since (1) it's not a condition, it's a symptom, while we're being precise and (2) how the hell do I know what others prefer. I certainly don't have a "cause". The fact is that there is a correct, precise medical term, there's even a body that takes great pains to figure out what that term should be, and I was trying to point out in a polite way that the old term is disfavored. Sorry to waste so many bits on this, but I hate to be called out on something like this when I do so much in the blue that's more deserving. Again, LH is better than this.
posted by The Bellman at 12:07 PM on January 18, 2008


Of course, he is Canadian and I guess we gotta go with whatever, uh, "rappers" we have.

As Donald Rumsfeld once said, you go into a freestyle battle with the rappers you have, not with the rappers you wish you had.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:11 PM on January 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Your favorite possibily-fake-Jamaican-accented rapper sucks.

There, now this thread is back on track.
posted by tommasz at 12:12 PM on January 18, 2008



As Donald Rumsfeld once said, you go into a freestyle battle with the rappers you have, not with the rappers you wish you had.


Now I wish he'd actually said that.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:21 PM on January 18, 2008


I agree that it would have been more precise to say "they are called" rather than "most people say"

No it wouldn't, it would be just as wrong (not to mention passive-aggressive). What would have been precise would have been my rephrasing, which you don't like because it puts the emphasis on your wishes rather than the outside world.

but it would also have been ruder, which I try to avoid

I have no idea what this is intended to mean, so I'll just let it go.

That's frankly offensive. Lying? You're going to call me a liar over this just to get your snark on? Isn't that a little petty?


This is not a tea party, this is MetaFilter. If the word "lying" truly offends you, I withdraw it, but I don't consider it petty to point out that you're willfully misstating the facts in order to make a politically correct point. America is full of that shit, and I despise it. But if "willfully misstating" will make you feel better, consider it substituted.

Once again: "most people" have never even heard the term you prefer. Note that the Wikipedia article you link to says "this term is now discouraged and rarely used in a clinical setting." I bold the important part, and note in passing the sneaky passive: "discouraged" by who? I have nothing against making a case for the newer term, but be honest about it. Say "most people aren't familiar with this term, but those of us who suffer from the condition prefer it and hope people will get used to it." Would that be so painful?
posted by languagehat at 12:45 PM on January 18, 2008


Randomly attacking people who don't use the right phrasing isn't helping your descriptivist cause either.
posted by Pyry at 1:14 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


(That last comment was to languagehat)
posted by Pyry at 1:16 PM on January 18, 2008


"Randomly attacking him"? Are you suggesting I picked his name out of a hat? I'm accusing him of misrepresenting the facts because it's true. What does any of this have to do with descriptivism, for heaven's sake?
posted by languagehat at 1:25 PM on January 18, 2008


Thanks, Pyry, I agree. Having said that, this is silly. I think LH is wrong, he thinks I'm wrong. We're done. Anything more would seem to me to be appropriate for MeTa (if necessary), but not here.
posted by The Bellman at 1:34 PM on January 18, 2008


Fair enough.
posted by languagehat at 1:36 PM on January 18, 2008


Bellman,

I'm epileptic too. They just call mine mixed seizure disorder with temporal lobe focus.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:37 PM on January 18, 2008


wow, looks like I started a war by saying Grand Mal.

Since I have them, I call it what I want. I give free permission to everyone else to refer to my seizures that way. Its just easier. People know what it means and there's nothing disparaging about it. No need to get panties in a twist people.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:40 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Figured you were, and faved your comment 'cause I laughed, Ironmouth. I really didn't mean to call anyone out. They call mine Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy--which pisses me off, because I'm 40 and prefer to choose when I'm going to be juvenile.
posted by The Bellman at 1:48 PM on January 18, 2008


That's frankly offensive. Lying? You're going to call me a liar over this just to get your snark on? Isn't that a little petty?

Languagehat claimed people were lying when they said they were upset or saddened by Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

Don't waste your time on him, he's just a useless asshole, sitting atop his throne, and telling everybody else what they think.

Thank you for your insights, though. I'd never heard of tonic-clonic seizures, and it was interesting to learn more.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 1:48 PM on January 18, 2008


I've never been diagnosed with a seizure disorder but there's a couple of measures of the Tori Amos song 'Bells for Her' that consistently put me into a bizarre disembodied, dream like state for several seconds that's reminiscent of what I've read of some forms of temporal lobe epilepsy. The really strange thing is that I've heard of one other person who has the same issue from that song.
posted by bunnytricks at 1:56 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't waste your time on him, he's just a useless asshole, sitting atop his throne, and telling everybody else what they think.

Still trying to get banned, huh?
posted by languagehat at 2:04 PM on January 18, 2008


Interesting that music could cause seizures. This will certainly add to the data gathered that may help to lead to a better understanding of the condition, and perhaps a way to cure it.
posted by Chuffy at 2:10 PM on January 18, 2008


without surgery, that is...
posted by Chuffy at 2:11 PM on January 18, 2008


Just curious, why are people saying Sean Paul's accent is fake?
posted by ramix at 2:58 PM on January 18, 2008


I'm still confused. Why is the term grand mal bad/offensive? Is this one of those things where I'm going to say grand mal and the room will get all quiet and I'll make an awkward joke and never talk to anyone there ever again? A preliminary google search didn't provide any answers.
posted by fermezporte at 3:32 PM on January 18, 2008


My temporal lobe epilepsy works like this. I get tingly and start to feel like every single thing that is happening around me and to me is happening in the exact same order as it did in a dream I had the night before. I remember that the year before I had my first grand mal, I asked my parents on the way home from college for summer if they had ever experienced deja vu.

Then one day I started to have it when I was at home and I told my mom "I'm having that feeling again."

I woke up in an ambulance.

After that I couldn't drive for a month while my medication was getting in my system. Slowly it dawned on me that I was feeling more relaxed and at peace than I had ever felt in my whole life.

I went to the doctor for a follow up and I told him about the weird feelings I was having. He explained that it was common side effect of a full on grand mal and that electro-shock threapy was an attempt to mimic that feeling.

Also about 5 years later I discovered religion and became a Buddhist. I really got into it. I wasn't like nuts or whacko about it, but it did interest me a lot.

Once when I was working at the National Library of Medicine pulling periodicals from the shelves to fufill interlibrary loan requests, I came accross a article indicating that a significant proportion of temporal lobe epileptics became highly involved in religion.

That freaked me out--it was like parts of my personality that I considered to be my own choice were being controlled by a disease.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:33 PM on January 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


I think Grand Mal was changed because it wasn't a descriptive name which told you about the type of seizure--it was invented when they didn't know anything about epilepsy. It means "very bad" in French. Its like saying some one has "very bad" cancer. It doesn't tell you anything and the trend in medical names is to use a name that is descriptive of what the condition is.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:35 PM on January 18, 2008


Hip-hop artist Sean Paul suspected to cause grand mal seizures in woman.

You know, I've had it up to here with editorializing in FPPs.
posted by Krrrlson at 4:39 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


it would have been more precise to say "they are called" rather than "most people say", but it would also have been ruder

The preferred nomenclature is "the preferred nomenclature".
posted by tangerine at 4:41 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Having not heard the song in question, is there any explanation why this particular song caused her to have seizures?

It's certainly the type of shit music that makes me wish I had a seizure.

Meanwhile, terms get deprecated all the time without anyone taking offense when someone uses the old term. So, why does "grand mal" rub people the wrong way?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:04 PM on January 18, 2008


Because it means 'very bad' in French. The equivalent term for absence seizures - petit mal - means 'little bad'. These are not very descriptive or accurate, whereas tonic-clonic, absence and complex partial (the three main types of seizures) are.
posted by goo at 4:33 AM on January 19, 2008


Well, if for no other reason, this thread was good in that we have now discovered a new issue (beyond smoking, obesity, abortion) that really pisses some MeFites off.
posted by psmealey at 4:36 AM on January 19, 2008


These are not very descriptive or accurate, whereas tonic-clonic, absence and complex partial (the three main types of seizures) are.

Still doesn't tell me why the misnomer is offensive and not merely deprecated. Do people like having seizures, or view it like autism/"neurotypical"?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:03 AM on January 19, 2008


ramix: "Just curious, why are people saying Sean Paul's accent is fake?"

Because he's an upper middle class ex-water polo player of Jewish-Portuguese-Chinese-Jamaican descent?
posted by jack_mo at 7:37 AM on January 19, 2008



Btw, earplugs /avoiding the song etc. wouldn't work because while this music was one trigger for her seizures, it was not the only one.
posted by Maias at 10:52 AM on January 19, 2008


Don't waste your time on him, he's just a useless asshole, sitting atop his throne, and telling everybody else what they think.

I love tacos. They have a bitter taste slightly reminiscent of glory.
posted by Wolof at 4:18 AM on January 20, 2008


Still trying to get banned, huh?

I think you lost moderator sympathy when you claimed that people who were saddened by Benazir Bhutto's death were actually lying.

At a minimum, you opened an opportunity for me to note that you're quite eager to accuse others of lying, even when there is no possible way for you to know either way. I mean really, you accused others of lying about grief, what other name is there for you except 'judgmental asshole'?

But hey, thanks for re-proving that you are completely out of touch with reality.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 6:23 PM on January 20, 2008


« Older After 60 years of separation due to her family bei...  |  Chicago Center for Literature ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments