Unusual Seizure Following An Avalanche

Imagining surviving and Avalanche only to have reoccurring unusual seizure that were anything but typical.  Back in 2005, a German man was on a ski trip. He was 25 at the time. As he was skiing, he was overcome by an avalanche and was buried. He was unconscious but rescuers were able to respond quick enough and he was saved.

That was only the beginning of his problems. He was diagnosed with a broken hip and a ruptured Spleen. He also suffered from intense and reoccurring muscle spasms whenever he moved. These spasms were small but powerful.

During the avalanche, he suffered from Oxygen Deprivation and this resulted in damage or at least inflammation in the brain. However, his survival was paramount. He began rehab and as soon as he could tolerate it. Quickly his muscles and bones began to heal.

A few months later though, a new and unexpected symptom began to appear. He started having shaking in his left arm. It happened several different times and took weeks to better understand. It quickly began to become clear that whenever he would try to solve Sudoku puzzles, he would experience the spasms in his left arm. Not long after he stopped the puzzles, the shaking would stop.

He returned to his Doctors and they performed a brain scan. What they learned was unbelievable. He found the his seizures were triggered by activity – considered strenuous – in the right central parietal cortex. This area of the brain is central in processing visuospataial information. This means, that when ever, the patient was trying to figure out a complex puzzle, by picturing options in his mind, a trigger would cause an unusual seizure.

Going back to the Oxygen Deprivation – he suffered Hypoxia – a condition when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. In this case, the damage was permanent. There was death of some of the tissues in his brain and the cortex was easily overactivated. This was likely a severe Brain Injury.

Treatment was physical therapy. He was able to improve the pathway and lessen the severity of the muscles spasms. However, he had to stop playing Sudoku.


Feddersen, B., et al. (2015). Seizures From Solving Sudoku Puzzles. JAMA Neurol., DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.2828

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