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05/02/2016

Mozart's music ‘may help reduce cognitive impact of epilepsy’

A new study has shown that music by Mozart could be useful in helping to reduce the cognitive impact of epilepsy.

The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China led a study that analysed the effect of playing music by Mozart to rodents with temporal lobe epilepsy.  Researchers were looking to see whether the music would affect the animals' awareness, understanding and response to their spatial environment.

According to results published in the medical journal Cognitive Neurodynamics, the animals experienced persistent cognitive impairment as a result of their epilepsy, but exposure to Mozart’s music significantly enhanced their cognitive abilities.

It was also suggested that music intervention may be more effective for improving cognitive function during the early stages after an incident of status epilepticus.

“These findings strongly suggest that Mozart’s music may help to promote the recovery of cognitive damage due to seizure activities, which provides a novel intervention strategy to diminish cognitive deficits in temporal lobe epilepsy patients,” the study concluded.

This is a potentially useful study as many current therapeutic interventions for epilepsy are focused on seizure reduction, rather than protecting or recovering cognitive functions.

In 1781 Wolfgang Mozart wrote his Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major.  It is this composition that has been the focus of the most research around the "Mozart effect".  The piece has been shown to have a positive impact on brain activity, inducing short-term improvements to certain cognitive abilities, as well as a decrease in epileptic brain activity.

You can listen to Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major here.

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