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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e45303. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045303. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Reduction of seizure occurrence from exposure to auditory stimulation in individuals with neurological handicaps: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1MIND Research Institute, Santa Ana, California, United States of America.



The purpose of this work was to determine in a clinical trial the efficacy of reducing or preventing seizures in patients with neurological handicaps through sustained cortical activation evoked by passive exposure to a specific auditory stimulus (particular music). The specific type of stimulation had been determined in previous studies to evoke anti-epileptiform/anti-seizure brain activity.


The study was conducted at the Thad E. Saleeby Center in Harstville, South Carolina, which is a permanent residence for individuals with heterogeneous neurological impairments, many with epilepsy. We investigated the ability to reduce or prevent seizures in subjects through cortical stimulation from sustained passive nightly exposure to a specific auditory stimulus (music) in a three-year randomized controlled study. In year 1, baseline seizure rates were established. In year 2, subjects were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Treatment group subjects were exposed during sleeping hours to specific music at regular intervals. Control subjects received no music exposure and were maintained on regular anti-seizure medication. In year 3, music treatment was terminated and seizure rates followed. We found a significant treatment effect (p = 0.024) during the treatment phase persisting through the follow-up phase (p = 0.002). Subjects exposed to treatment exhibited a significant 24% decrease in seizures during the treatment phase, and a 33% decrease persisting through the follow-up phase. Twenty-four percent of treatment subjects exhibited a complete absence of seizures during treatment.


Exposure to specific auditory stimuli (i.e. music) can significantly reduce seizures in subjects with a range of epilepsy and seizure types, in some cases achieving a complete cessation of seizures. These results are consistent with previous work showing reductions in epileptiform activity from particular music exposure and offers potential for achieving a non-invasive, non-pharmacologic treatment of epilepsy.


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