TORONTO — About 20 years ago researchers first discovered that Mozart’s music can serve as a therapeutic for epilepsy patients. Researchers from Toronto Western Hospital are now taking this finding a step further. They say that Mozart’s composition, “Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448,” reduces the number of seizures seen in their epileptic patients.
“In the past 15 to 20 years, we have learned a lot about how listening to one of Mozart’s compositions in individuals with epilepsy appears to demonstrate a reduction in seizure frequency,” explains lead author Dr. Marjan Rafiee, in a release. “But, one of the questions that still needed to be answered was whether individuals would show a similar reduction in seizure frequency by listening to another auditory stimulus – a control piece – as compared to Mozart.”
More specifically, is it Mozart’s music that causes a reduction in seizure frequency? Or could it be a piece of music that contains features of his composition that will produce a similar result?
Mozart Vs. Music Containing Mozart
They recruited 13 epileptic patients for their study. Half of the patients listened to Mozart’s song every day for three months. Then they listened to the control song every day for three months. The other half of the patients listened to the songs in the opposite order.
Using data from patient’s “seizure diaries,” researchers say that patients suffered fewer seizures during the period when they were listening to “Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448.”
“Our results showed daily listening to the first movement of Mozart K.448 was associated with reducing seizure frequency in adult individuals with epilepsy,” says Dr. Rafiee. “This suggests that daily Mozart listening may be considered as a supplemental therapeutic option to reduce seizures in individuals with epilepsy.”
“As a surgeon,” adds senior author Dr. Taufik Valiante, director of the Surgical Epilepsy Program at the Krembil Brain Institute, “I have the pleasure of seeing individuals benefit from surgery. Hmozartowever I also know well those individuals for whom surgery is not an option, or those who have not benefitted from surgery, so, we are always looking for ways to improve symptom control, and improve quality of life for those with epilepsy.”
The study is published in Epilepsia Open.