Mary Hart Syndrome - The name given
to the medical condition suffered by an unidentified woman who was
proven to be afflicted with an epileptic seizure caused by the
voice of celebrity Mary Hart, co‑host of the weekly syndicated
news magazine program ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT.
In 1991, news sources reported an epilepsy expert noted that it
was probably the pitch and quality of the voice as a sound that
caused the epileptic episodes. (Science News 140(3) p.45 July
When the woman stopped watching the show, the seizures stopped.
It has long been known that pulses of certain color lights could
cause epileptic fits, but this was the first known case to have been
caused by the "sound waves" of a television broadcast.
In episode No. 36 "The Good Samaritan" (3/4/92) on the sitcom
SEINFELD/NBC/1989-98 hipster Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards)
experienced seizures triggered by the voice of Mary Hart. As he told
his friends "Suddenly I got dizzy and the next thing you know I hit
my head on the coffee table."
TRIVIA NOTE: In an October, 1957
report in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
Dr. Meyer Naide identifies "television legs," blood clots that
result from watching TV too long.
In 1969, some people were concerned that the quick editing style
proposed for children's series SESAME STREET on PBS might cause
epileptic fits in the child viewers.
In the 1980s, the media reported a disorder called "Carsonogeneous
Monocular Nyctalopia" (a.k.a. "Johnny Carson one-eyed night
blindness") named for a patient who allegedly viewed THE TONIGHT
SHOW with one eye buried in a pillow while watching TV. (People
v31 Summer-Special Issue 1989 p.20). See also
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