CHRISTMAS may be enough to give anyone convulsions, but the butcher who had a fit every Christmas Eve for five consecutive years was a puzzle to doctors in Edinburgh. The 26-year-old man, they report in the British Medical Journal, did not suffer from fits the rest of the year but had seizures between 11am and noon every Christmas Eve.

The poor man had spent too much time with his turkeys, according to the Department of Clinical Neurology at the Western General Hospital. His fits were found to be triggered by sleep deprivation: for the 14 days before Christmas he was working 15 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

Since he refused to change his working hours, he was prescribed a drug to prevent fits in the run-up to each Christmas.