Playing the popular Chinese tile game mahjong can lead to seizures, Hong Kong researchers say, calling the phenomenon "mahjong epilepsy."
In a study published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal's August edition, researchers from the Queen Mary Hospital reviewed 23 cases of mahjong players in Taiwan and Hong Kong who suffered seizures. They concluded that mahjong-induced epilepsy is a specific condition — not the result of the stress or exhaustion associated with the game.
Most of the 23 patients never suffered seizures other than when playing mahjong and the seizures occurred as early as one hour into their games, the researchers said. One patient stopped having seizures after quitting mahjong but relapsed after taking up the game again, according to the study.
The researchers called mahjong a "cognitively demanding game."
"It involves substantial higher mental processing and outputs: memory, concentration, calculations, reasoning, strategies, sequential thinking and planning," they said.