New research from Ohio State University may have identified a preventative tool against epileptic seizures. The research found that epilepsy patients’ brains respond differently to some types of music than indiduals without.
The study discovered that calming, less obnoxious music, such as Mozart, could aid in preventing the seizures that accompany the disorder.
Patients in the study listened to 10 minutes of silence while their brainwave patterns were recorded by researchers. Then, they listened to 10 minutes of soft music while their brainwave patterns were recorded.
The head researcher, Dr. Christine Chartyon, identified to the BBC that a high amount of elipepsy cases take place in the temporal lobe of the brain. This portion of the brain is responsible for turning sensation into meaning. She continued, “eighty per cent of people that have epilepsy have temporal lobe epilepsy, which means that seizures begin in the temporal lobe. The auditory cortex, where people perceive music and hear sounds is in the temporal lobe also.”
The hypothesis of the study proposed that “music would be processed in the brain differently than silence”, not knowing if this would differ across epileptic individuals or those without epilepsy.
After analyzing the brainwave patterns of the participants while listening to soft music contrasted against the patterns observed during silent periods, the study found that the brain of epileptic individuals appeared to respond differently than those without epilepsy. Ultimately, this is a significant recognition that the temporal lobe plays a vast role in the processing of sound, especially music, among epileptic patients.
Charyton reminds us that this finding is not a replacement for epileptic treatment, but may be used in conjunction with current treatments to limit or minimize the occurrence of seizures in epileptic patients.