Epilepsy is a chronic brain disease encompassing different symptoms, the most spectacular of which is the occurrence of epileptic seizures which are characterized by sudden and excessive discharges of nerve impulses (electrical signals). Inserm believes that 600,000 people suffer from it in France, nearly half of them under the age of 20. Internationally, the incidence of the disease would be 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, or 60 million patients. “There is not one but epilepsies. Together they constitute the third most common neurological diseasebehind migraine and dementia, ”the organization specifies on this subject.
Its treatment is based on taking anti-epileptic drugs. But for about a quarter of patients, these drugs are insufficiently ineffective and epileptic seizures persist. Thus, people who respond little or not to drug treatments need alternative solutions. A new study led by researchers at the Krembil Brain Institute within the Toronto Western Hospital and published in the journal Epilepsia Open affirms that a compositionby the famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart could reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with epilepsy. It is more precisely a specific melody called “Sonata for two pianos in D major, K. 448”.
What results compared to another melody?
This work consisted in examining the effects of this partition on crisis reduction compared to another auditory stimulus: a scrambled version of Mozart’s original composition with similar mathematical characteristics, but mixed up haphazardly and without rhythmicity. “Over the past 15 to 20 years, we’ve learned a lot about how listening to a Mozart’s compositions for epileptics seems to reduce the frequency of seizures. But one of the questions that still had to be answered was whether individuals would show a similar reduction in seizure frequency when listening to another auditory stimulus, ”the researchers explain.
Thirteen patients were recruited to participate in this study for one year. After a period of three months, half of the patients listened to Mozart’s Sonata once a day for three months, then switched to the “scrambled” version for three months. The other half of the patients started the procedure the other way around, listening to the scrambled version for three months before switching to daily listening to Mozart. The participants kept a “seizure diary” while their medication remained unchanged during the study. The researchers then found that “daily listening to Mozart’s first piece K.448 was associated with a reduction in the frequency of seizures “.
“Improve the quality of life of people with epilepsy”
Encouraging results since they suggest that thedaily listening to Mozart can be considered as a therapeutic option extra to reduce seizures in people with epilepsy. Especially for patients whose medicines are not effective in controlling their seizures. “As a surgeon, I am pleased to see people benefit from surgery, but I also know people for whom it is not an option, so we are always looking for ways to better control symptoms and improve health. quality of life of people with epilepsy », Underlines Dr Taufik Valiante, lead author of the study.
While these results are promising, the next step will be to conduct studies with more patients over a longer period of time. “Our goal is to disseminate our knowledge and create new studies through which we can create the opportunity for epileptics to take advantage of the potential benefits of listening to music, in addition to providing us with the chance to improve our understanding of the impact of music on epilepsy and the brain, ”concludes Dr Taufik Valiante. Note that this is not the first time that the beneficial effects of listening to a Mozart composition on the brain have been explored, the experience even bears the name “Mozart effect “.