Epilepsy, Mozart and his sonata K.448: is the ‘Mozart effect’ therapeutic?
Aims. To present a review of the so-called ‘Mozart effect’, to explain why Mozart and his sonata K.448 were chosen, and to review the available literature on the treatment of epilepsy with that sonata.
Development. Profuse literature exists on the cerebral mechanisms that allow us to perceive, process and respond to the musical stimulus. Cerebral plasticity, especially in people with musical training, has also been demonstrated. The ‘Mozart effect’ arose from the finding that hearing the sonata K.448 improved cognitive abilities, but the fact that these results may be due not to the music itself but to the listener increasing arousal or enjoyment generated controversy. In this context of debate, a large number of papers about the ‘Mozart effect’ in the field of epilepsy were published, and are reviewed in this work.
Conclusions. The ‘Mozart effect’ has a scientific basis but its nature limits the methodological quality of the research. The music of Mozart, chosen for its exquisite structure, has been able to increase even more the controversy because also it is of the taste of a great majority. It is still far from being consolidated as a non-pharmacological antiepileptic treatment, but it could increase the scientific evidence with studies whose design minimizes the cited confounding factors.
Key words. Brain plasticity. Epilepsy. Mozart effect. Music and neurology. Music therapy. Sonata K.448.