Researchers find that people with epilepsy process music differently

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Researchers find that people with epilepsy process music differently

A team at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center may have just uncovered the most unexpected side-effect associated with epilepsy -- musical brainwave synchronization. The idea for the research came to Christine Charyton, PHD, while considering that 80-percent of epilepsy seizures originate in the same region of the brain that houses the auditory cortex, which processes music.

The experiment used an electroencephalogram to track brain activity as patients listened to two pieces of music broken up by 10 minutes of silence: a recording of My Favorite Things by John Coltrane and Mozart's Sonata in D Major. "We were surprised by the findings," explains Charyton. Both patients with and without epilepsy showed higher levels of brainwave activity while listening to music, rather than silence, but subjects with epilepsy were more likely to have their brainwaves synchronize with the music. "We hypothesized that music would be processed in the brain differently than silence. We did not know if this would be the same or different for people with epilepsy."

So, what's all this mean? Not a lot for now, but Charyton has high hopes that music could eventually be used to supplement epilepsy therapy as an intervention method to help prevent seizures. It's just an idea for now, but you have to admit: prescription listening sounds pretty appealing

[Image credit: Cultura Creative (RF) / Alamy]

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