The melody of this sonata soothes the brain in epilepsy

A Mozart sonata that can calm epileptic brain activity may derive its therapeutic power from melodies that create a sense of surprise, according to a study published in the journal Scientific reports September 23, 2021.

Research on 16 patients hospitalized with epilepsy who did not respond to medication has raised hopes that music could be used for new, non-invasive treatments.

“Our ultimate dream is to define an ‘anti-epileptic’ musical genre and to use music to improve the lives of people with epilepsy,” said study co-author Robert Quon of Dartmouth College in the United States.

that of Mozart Sonata for two pianos in D major K448 is known for its effects on cognition and other brain activities, but researchers are still trying to understand why.

In this study, scientists played the part for patients fitted with brain implant sensors to monitor the onset of interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) – brief but harmful brain events experienced by epileptics between seizures.

They found that IEDs decreased after 30 seconds of listening, with significant effects in parts of the brain associated with emotions.

When they compared the response to the structure of the work, they found that the effects increased during transitions between longer musical phrases – those that lasted ten seconds or more.

Quon says the results suggest that longer sentences can create a sense of anticipation – then respond to it unexpectedly, “creating a positive emotional response.”

The so-called Mozart effect has been the subject of research since scientists claimed in 1993 that people who listened to the sonata for 10 minutes showed improved spatial reasoning skills.

Further research tested the effects of the composition on various functions and disorders of the brain, including epilepsy.

But the authors said this study is the first to break down observations based on song structure, which they described as “organized by contrasting melodic themes, each with its own underlying harmony.”

As with previous studies, patients showed no change in brain activity when exposed to other auditory stimuli or pieces of music that were not the sonata, even those from their musical genres. favorite.

Patients in this study listened to 90 seconds of a work by Wagner characterized by shifting harmonies, but “without a recognizable melody.”

This produced no calming effect, which led researchers to focus on such an important melody in Mozart’s sonata.

The study notes that further testing could use other carefully selected pieces of music for comparison to better understand the therapeutic components of the sonata. – AFP Relaxnews

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