A group of researchers from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have made a new discovery about those with epilepsy and how the brain processes music. The team, led by neurologist Christine Charyton, based their research on the fact that 80% of epileptic seizures begin in the temporal lobes, the same region of the brain as the auditory cortex, the part that processes sound and music. The discovery is that the brainwaves of those with the disorder tend to synchronize with music.
The group’s research involved having patients sit through a period of silence, and then another listening to two pieces of music. The scientists monitored electrical activity in the brain, finding that it increased when music was playing, regardless if the patients had epilepsy or not.
Even more interesting was that for those who did have epilepsy, their electrical activity in the brain often synchronized with the music, even more so for those whose epilepsy was based in the temporal lobe. Charyton has presented this research to the American Psychological Association, suggesting that it could one day be used to help prevent seizures.
Speaking recently at the APA’s 123rd Annual Convention, Charyton admits that this is still a theory at this point, adding that music won’t be capable of replacing conventional medical treatments for epilepsy. But she hopes that music could be used as an addition to successful treatments.