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Epilepsy Res. 2010 May;89(2-3):238-45. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2010.01.007. Epub 2010 Feb 2.

Mozart K.448 and epileptiform discharges: effect of ratio of lower to higher harmonics.

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Graduate Institute of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.



Certain music has been shown to improve mental function, leading to what is known as the Mozart effect. This study measured the impact of Mozart's Sonata for two pianos in D major, K.448, on different epileptic foci of epileptiform discharge in Taiwanese children (n=58) with seizure disorders and investigated the characteristics of the musical stimulus presented that resulted in epileptiform discharge reduction.


We examined the relationship between the number of discharges with the foci of epileptiform discharge (n=6), sleep state, gender, and mentality. A continuous electroencephalogram was recorded before, during and after exposure to Mozart's Sonata for two pianos in D major, K.448 (piano K.448), and the frequencies of discharges were compared. The study was repeated a week later using digitally computerized string version of the same musical stimulus (string K.448), in patients who responded to piano K.448 with the largest reduction in interictal discharges (n=11).


Interictal discharges were reduced in most (81.0%) patients and varied greatly (33.10+/-28.33%) as they listened to the piano K.448 (more fundamental tones and lower harmonics). Patients with generalized or central discharge showed the most improvement. In most patients (76.1%), the decrease in epileptiform discharges continued after the music ended. The state of wakefulness, gender and mentality did not affect the results. Although the string K.448 had a larger number of higher harmonics in the spectrogram analysis, the discharges were not reduced at all when listening to this music.


These results suggest that listening to Mozart K.448 for two pianos reduced epileptiform discharges in children with epilepsy. This study suggests that it is possible to reduce the number of epileptiform discharges in some patients by optimizing the fundamental tones and minimizing the higher frequency harmonics.

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