Healthcare scientists have long understood that listening to music has beneficial effects on the brain. According to Psych Central, Christine Charyton, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor and visiting assistant professor of neurology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, discovered that the brains of people with epilepsy react differently to music than those who do not have the disease.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have seizures at random moments. 80 percent of people with epilepsy have temporal lobe epilepsy, because that is the part of the brain where the seizures originate. The temporal lobe is also the part of the brain where music is processed and understood.
So, Charyton and her team hooked up a number of epilepsy patients to an electroencephalogram. Then they exposed the test subjects to a randomized ten minutes of silence, a ten-minute selection from a Mozart sonata, and a ten-minute portion of a jazz piece by John Coltrane.
The researchers found, not to their surprise, that higher levels of brain activity existed while the subjects were listening to music. However, they were surprised that the brains of people with epilepsy processed music differently than the brains of people who did not have the disease. Moreover, the brain waves of epileptics, especially in the temporal lobe, started to synchronize with the music more so than people with normal brains.
Charyton suggests that these findings mean that music therapy may be of some benefit for people with epilepsy. Playing music to synchronize epileptic brains will likely never replace traditional therapies, But it will be used in conjunction with those therapies.
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