Mozart music may reduce seizure in people with epilepsy

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In a new study, researchers found that that a Mozart composition may reduce seizure frequency in patients with epilepsy.

The research was conducted by a team at the University Health Network.

Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorder in the world, affecting approximately 300,000 Canadians and 50 million people worldwide.

Many experience debilitating seizures. The treatment is often one or more anti-seizure medications. But for 30% of patients, the medications are not effective in controlling their seizures.

In the past 15 to 20 years, researchers have learned a lot about how listening to one of Mozart’s compositions in individuals with epilepsy appears to demonstrate a reduction in seizure frequency.

The team looked at the effects of the Mozart melody, “Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448” on reducing seizures, as compared to another auditory stimulus—a scrambled version of the original Mozart composition, with similar mathematical features, but shuffled randomly and lacking any rhythmicity.

They recruited 13 patients, half of which listened to Mozart’s Sonata once daily for three months, then switched to the scrambled version for three months.

The others started the intervention by listening to the scrambled version for three months, then switched to daily listening of Mozart.

Patients kept “seizure diaries” to document their seizure frequency during the intervention. Their medications were kept unchanged during the course of the study.

The results showed daily listening to the first movement of Mozart K.448 was linked to reduced seizure frequency in people with epilepsy.

This suggests that daily Mozart listening may be considered as a supplemental therapeutic option to reduce seizures in individuals with epilepsy.

While these results are promising, the next step is to conduct larger studies with more patients, over a longer period of time.

The lead authors of the study are  Dr. Marjan Rafiee and Dr. Taufik Valiante of the Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital.

The study is published in Epilepsia Open.

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