A new study by Tarjan Rafiee and Taufik Valiante of the Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital, part of the University Health Network, has an eloquent title: The Rhyme and Rhythm of Music in Epilepsy .
What they conclude is that Mozart’s music can reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with epilepsy .
Rhyme and rhythm
Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorder in the world , affecting approximately 50 million people worldwide.
The study used the Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448 on the reduction of seizures, compared to another auditory stimulus: a coded version of the original Mozart composition, with similar mathematical characteristics, but randomly shuffled and without any rhythmicity .
The researchers recruited 13 patients to participate in the new, year-long study. After three months of a reference period, half of the patients listened to the Mozart Sonata once a day for three months, then switched to the coded version for three months. As Rafiee explains:
In the last 15 to 20 years, we have learned a great deal about how listening to one of Mozart’s compositions in individuals with epilepsy seems to demonstrate a reduction in the frequency of seizures. But, one of the questions that still had to be answered was whether people would show a similar reduction in seizure frequency when listening to another auditory stimulus, a control piece, compared to Mozart.
While these results are promising, the next step is to conduct larger studies with more patients, and over a longer period of time .