Dangerous Choking Game Kills Youth In US

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At least 82 youth aged from 6 to 19 died from a choking game.

US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention got a letter from a doctor living in Tacoma, Washington telling that her 13 year old son died in 2005 playing a dangerous game. The letter urged CDC to investigate the case. During the period from 1995 to 2007 about 82 similar cases were found.

CDC excluded all death cases that were unclear to define whether it was a suicide or an accident. Among all cases 87% are boy deaths aged from 11 to 16.

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The game is being played both alone and in groups, but most death cases are among those playing alone. Children are strangling themselves or one another with a scarf or hands to temporary cut brain blood supply. This cuts brain oxygen (hypoxia) supply causing euphoric, dreemy feeling.

According to CDC, the game has several names: blackout game, passout game, scarf game, space monkey.

"We chose to go ahead with the report because we think it's critical that parents, educators and health care providers become aware of this phenomenon so they can look for the warning signs of it," said Robin Toblin of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Death cases because of the games don't occur frequently, but the game also causes numerous brain damages that can hurt children's lives. Among these damages CDC notes "seizures, hemorrhages of the eyes".

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