Mozart Decreases Epiletiform Activity

From a study by Hughes JR, Daaboul Y, Fino JJ, and Shaw GL:

The “Mozart Effect,” using the Piano Sonata in D Major (K.448), was examined in patients with seizures. In 23 of 29 instances significant decreases in epileptiform activity were noted from patients even in coma [emphasis added], with status epilepticus or with periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges (PLEDs). The effect may be immediate or require 40-300 sec to manifest itself. The change in the amount of ictal activity in one patient in coma was from 62% before the music to 21% during Mozart. Amplitudes of these discharges also have often decreased. Examples of PLEDs on both temporal areas are shown in which the effect was only on the left temporal area but in other patients only on the right temporal area. Brain maps during the music showed theta and alpha activity decreased on the central areas, while delta waves increased on the frontal midline area. The basis of this effect is likely that the superorganization of the cerebral cortex with its highly structured radial columns seen throughout both hemispheres may resonate with the superior architecture of Mozart’s music [emphasis added].

There are three takeaways from this study: the obvious one is that playing Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448, decreases the duration and severity of epileptic episodes, although it may take up to five minutes to see the effect. The less obvious conclusion is that this may be the result of increased EEG coherence seen in other studies. And the really exciting part of this study may be in the last sentence, where the authors suggest that somehow the construction of Mozart’s music may somehow reflect the organization of our brains (which actually makes sense, since a human brain composed the music!). Something to think about for an afternoon, at any rate.

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