The brains of epileptic individuals seem to respond differently as compared to normal individuals. A research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 123rd Annual Convention explains how this phenomenon could be used to develop novel therapies for managing the disease, especially the disturbing seizures.

Testing The ‘Music’ Therapy

Approximately 80 percent of all cases of epilepsy are classified as ‘temporal lobe epilepsy’. In this type, the seizures seem to originate from the temporal lobe of the brain. Music is processed in the temporal lobe as well, in the auditory cortex, which led scientists to observe the effects of music on the brains of epileptic individuals.

Christine Charyton, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Visiting Assistant Professor of Neurology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, along with her colleagues compared the music-processing abilities of epileptic and normal brains using an electroencephalogram. Electrodes were attached to the scalp and brainwave patterns were detected and recorded. Data was collected from 21 patients enrolled in the epilepsy monitoring unit at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (September 2012 – May 2014).

Brainwave patterns were recorded while the patients were kept in a sound proof room for 10 minutes, followed by Mozart’s Sonata in D Major, Andante Movement II (K448) or John Coltrane’s rendition of My Favorite Things, followed by another 10 minute period of silence, then musical pieces again and a final 10 minute period of silence. The music could be heard in random order by the participants.

Intriguing Results: Music Therapy For Epilepsy

Significantly, elevated levels of brainwave activity were observed while the participants listened to music. Moreover, the brainwave activity in the temporal lobe seemed to synchronize more when listening to music in epileptic individuals, as compared to normal people.

Even though Charyton is not very confident that music would replace current therapeutic treatments for epilepsy, she stated that these findings prove that music could be used as a potential intervention along with existing treatment for preventing seizures.