January 18, 2008

Music Helps Doctors Identify Source Of Seizures In Epileptic Woman

Stacey Gayle's seizures are now a thing of the past, thanks in large part to her favorite musician Sean Paul.

Gayle, a 25-year-old Canadian woman diagnosed with a rare condition known as musicogenic epilepsy, for years suffered from as many as 10 grand mal seizures a day, despite treatments to control them.

Then eighteen months ago she made a discovery that changed the course of her life. She began to suspect that the music she was listening to might be causing her seizures. In particular, she suspected that music by hip-hop artist Sean Paul and similar music might be the underlying source of the problem.

She took her concerns to doctors at Long Island medical center last February, who confirmed what Gayle had suspected. While with doctors, Gayle played Paul's hit song "Temperature" on her iPod. Shortly afterward, she had three seizures.

"Being that the seizures could be triggered by the music, this was a very interesting opportunity to study Stacey's brain," Dr. Ashesh Mehta, the hospital's director of epilepsy surgery, told AP.

Doctors used more than 100 electrodes implanted in Gayle's brain to determine which areas were abnormal. Once surgeons properly identified these areas, they performed surgery to remove them.

"We used the latest techniques, including image guidance, to pinpoint the areas of abnormality, and the operating microscope to perform the procedure during a four-hour operation," Mehta added.

Gayle was released three days later, and hasn't suffered a seizure since.

"I always live each day like it's my last," Gayle told AP. "I want to show others that life does not end at epilepsy. I know I have what it takes to succeed."