Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Medicine

New study revives a Mozart sonata as a potential epilepsy therapy

This post originally appeared on StatNews.

Could this be the return of the “Mozart effect”?

In 1993, researchers reported that after college students listened to a particular Mozart piano sonata for 10 minutes, they showed better spatial reasoning skills than they did after listening to relaxation instructions designed to lower blood pressure — or to nothing at all. And their IQ scores jumped by 8 or 9 points in what became known as the Mozart effect. Even though the benefits were hard to reproduce (and wore off within minutes), the fad of Mozart for babies’ brain development was born.

In that early research, scientists also said listening to Mozart’s “Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major” (K448), helped patients with epilepsy by reducing spikes in neuron activity that can lead to seizures. Again, the results were not consistent enough for other scientists to replicate them. But now, 28 years later, newer methods are reviving the possibility that music can be the calm that prevents the brain’s electrical storm.


Research published Thursday in Scientific Reports says listening to the sonata for at least 30 seconds may be associated with less frequent spikes of certain electrical activity in the brains of people whose epilepsy does not respond to medication. In the study’s 16 patients, spikes fell by two-thirds throughout the brain, but they dropped the most in the brain’s left and right frontal cortices, where emotional responses are regulated.

This post originally appeared on StatNews.

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