Sorry, but Mozart can’t cure epilepsy

Sorry, but Mozart can’t cure epilepsy

Music might hath powers to soothe the savage beast. But don’t expect it help keep your brain healthy.

We begin with apologies to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

No one doubts the maestro’s transcendent music. But a myth emerged during the last half century of a so-called Mozart Effect. This is the idea that listening to the composer’s works had benefits for the brain. One disproven theory was that his Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major increased the intelligence of the listener, including babies in the womb.

Other more outlandish claims were that the sonata can help cows produce more milk and make bacteria breaking down sewage in a treatment plant more effective. Who knew bacteria were fans of classical music?

And then there is the idea that the Two Pianos piece can lessen the severity of the symptoms of seizure-causing epilepsy.

Perhaps it’s fitting a band of Austrian scientist finally put this one to rest. Mozart was, after all, born in Austrian Salzburg on a cold, snowy day in 1756.

Researchers at the University of Vienna published a study saying they could find no reliable evidence that listening to Mozart has any effect on epilepsy symptoms. Until now, valid empirical evidence of the epileptic claim had been unclear.

Researchers say they combed through all known research about epilepsy and music in a comprehensive analysis. They unearthed no reliable evidence to support the Mozart Effect.

They note previous reports that epilepsy might be diminished were probably due to selective reporting, small sample size and inadequate research practices.

The scientists did concede one point: Mozart’s music is undeniably beautiful.

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