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Musicogenic Seizures


Address for correspondence: Giuliano Avanzini, Department of Experimental Research and Diagnostics, National Neurologic Institute “Carlo Besta,” via Celoria 11, 20133 Milan, Italy. Voice: (39) 02 2394253; fax: (39) 02 70600775;


Abstract: Eighty-seven reports of patients with seizures induced by listening and/or playing music and one personal observation are reviewed. Music-induced (or musicogenic) seizures are currently classified among the reflex seizures precipitated by complex stimuli. According to the available information, they are defined as focal seizures due to a discharge involving lateral and mesial temporal and orbitofrontal areas. The specific musical component responsible for seizure precipitation is still undetermined. An important role is attributed to the emotional aspect of music. The existence of this rare disorder should be borne in mind by neurologists, who should also be aware of the existing musical test batteries that may help in understanding better the nature of triggering mechanisms responsible for this unique pathological condition. The implementations of the results of ongoing investigations on brain processing of musical information will advance our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the transition from interictal to ictal phases of epilepsy.