We now know why Mozart calms the brains of epilepsy

The beneficial power of music on human beings has been studied for ages. For some time now, a sonata has been of particular interest to scientists: the one for two pianos in D major K448 by Mozart. And for good reason, it would have particularly interesting effects on people with epilepsy.

A new study, published on September 16, 2021 in the journal Scientific Reports, deciphers this surprising phenomenon a little more. Because if scientists know the benefits of this music on epileptics, they did not really know how to explain it. Today, the mystery is slowly lifting.

Contrasting harmonies

To carry out this research, the researchers selected sixteen patients suffering from epilepsy and on whom the drugs had no effect. Probes were then implanted directly in contact with their brains to monitor the onset of a seizure. Finally, the scientists played the sonata to the patients, hoping to observe the regions of the brain on which this music acts.

As a result, after at least 30 seconds of listening, the cerebral electrical phenomenon characteristic of epilepsy in his patients decreased, reports the media Science Alert. This effect was even particularly significant on certain passages of the melody, in particular at the moments of the transitions between the musical phrases of more than ten seconds. Moreover, only Mozart seems to produce this effect; listening to Wagner, for example, produced no significant results.

Scientists explain this phenomenon based on the construction of the Austrian song itself. His sonata is indeed made up of a succession of totally different melodies, which each time creates a feeling of surprise. These contrasting, unexpected harmonies thus have a positive effect in the brain regions linked to the emotional responses of the person with epilepsy. A sort of sequence of musical counter-feet with therapeutic, soothing power.

While many misunderstood areas remain to be clarified, this discovery paves the way for new non-invasive treatments to treat this chronic disease. Scientists now want to define precisely the so beneficial characteristics of this sonata to, one day, create an anti-epileptic musical genre.

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