Can listening to Mozart daily reduce the number of seizures in people with epilepsy?

16th July 2020

Around 65 million people worldwide live with epilepsy and reducing the number of seizures they experience is always a key concern. This is often done through a number of treatment options, such as anti-epileptic medications (AEDs), surgery, specialised diets and a number of other options. However, is it possible that music could also help to reduce the frequency of seizures? 

A clinical research study entitled ‘The Rhyme and Rhythm of Music in Epilepsy’ certainly makes a case for listening to Mozart each day in order to reduce the frequency of seizures. The study was conducted using classical music, however, Mozart’s piano sonatas in particular were used to conduct the study. 

The study was led by Dr. Marjan Rafiee and Dr. Taufik Valiante of the Krembil Brain Institute, which is located in Toronto Western Hospital. In the study, 13 different participants with epilepsy were exposed to two different audio clips over a 6 month period. 

After a baseline period of 3 months, half of the participants were played the original version of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major for around seven minutes each day for three months. The other half of the participants were subjected to a scrambled, arrhythmic version of the same piece. 

The results of the study conclusively showed that there was a reduction in seizures in those who listened to the late composer’s original piece. 

Dr. Rafjee commented: “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.

“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.

“Our results showed daily listening to the first movement of Mozart K.448 was associated with reducing seizure frequency in adult individuals with epilepsy. This suggests that daily Mozart listening may be considered as a supplemental therapeutic option to reduce seizures in individuals with epilepsy.”

It’s not the first time this has been observed either, as in 2018 there was research from The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in London that showed that children aged between 2 and 18 had a significant drop in seizures after being exposed to Mozart’s music. 

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