The Canadian Globe and Mail reports on the remarkable case of Stacey Gayle, a 25-year-old woman from Edmonton who has just had neurosurgery to treat intractable epilepsy.
Gayle (right) was suffering from musicogenic epilepsy, a rare form of the condition in which seizures are triggered by music. In some patients with this type of epilepsy, listening to any type of music provokes a seizure. In others, seizures are only triggered by certain types of music.
The stimuli which induce seizures in musicogenic epileptics can be even more specific. In one case, the attacks occurred only when he played the piano, while another patient would have a seizure only when he heard “a brass wind instrument play a bass tone” (Daly & Barry, 1957).
Gayle suspected that her attacks were being triggered by a song called Temperature, by Sean Paul, as she remembers that this artist’s music had been playing on at least two occasions that she had suffered from seizures. The doctors were initially sceptical about her claims, until they themselves induced seizures by playing that particular song.