Friday, August 23, 2013

Can Mozart Reduce Seizures in Children? These Studies Say Yes!

classical music photo: AD classical banner classical-music.jpg

One day I turned on the classical music station in the car and saw my son completely relax. This was unexpected. I never liked classical music so this was his first exposure. I'd only ever seen him that calm once - when he was on an exceptionally high, but unsustainable dose of seizure medications during a prescription change.

Petite mal seizures ping around my son's brain all day long. Though medication keeps him functional, it only partially controls his epileptic activity. Since we can't safely dose much higher I often search for additional options to reduce those breakthrough seizures.

That got me wondering if the effects of classical music on seizures have been studied?

Turns out they have.


classical music photo: mozart untitled.jpg

The Mozart Effect on Epileptiform Activity
1998 Jul;29(3):109-19

Twenty-three of twenty-nine subjects had decreased epileptiform activity, including patients in a coma. The intensity of seizures also decreased.

2011 Aug;21(4):420-4.

Previous studies had shown reduced seizure activity during and immediately after listening to Mozart K.448. This study exposed children to 8 minutes of k.448 before bed for six months. Epileptic discharges significantly reduced progressively after 1, 2, and 6 months. All patients except those with occipital discharges benefited.
2011 Mar;20(3):490-3.

Eight of eleven patients were seizure free or had very positive outcomes. 
2013 Aug;124(8):1528-35.
This recently published study confirmed the outcomes in previous studies: listening to Mozart decreased seizures in children. This one, however, looked at why. It detected an increase in parasympathetic tone during the music exposure. The authors suggest that Mozart stimulated parasympathetic activation, which may have been involved in the effect the music has in reducing seizures and their occurrence rates.  


Mozart k.448 attenuates spontaneous absence seizure and related high voltage rhythmic spike discharges in Long Evans rats.
2013 May;104(3):234-40.

Showed that seizure reduction with k.448 also happens in rats.


Mozart k.545 mimics k.448 in reducing epileptic discharges in epileptic children

This study of thirty-nine children looked at if another Mozart piece, k.545, could have similar seizure reduction capacity as k.448. It does. This study suggest that other music with lower harmonics might decrease seizures in children.


Mozart k.448 and epileptiform discharges: effect of ration from lower to higher harmonics
2010 May;89(2-3):238-45

Another study showing k.448 reduces seizures in some children. Researchers postulate that minimizing high frequency harmonics is good for epileptic children.


My son's breakthrough seizures manifest as hyper-activity, impulsiveness, and occasional aggression. When those tell-tale symptoms arise I play k.448 and k.545 and it seems to help. I've even put them on his Ipad to listen to in the sensory room at school when disrupted by seizures. But I have yet to commit to a six month regimen of having him listen for eight minutes or more before bed. That's coming soon. I'll keep you posted.


Mozart Can Cut Epilepsy - BBC News

This post is linked with Frugally Sustainable.

tags: epilepsy and Mozart, seizures and Mozart, Mozart reduces seizures in children, studies

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rosemary Essential Oil Improves Memory - Emerging Scientific Evidence

rosemary photo: rosemary rosemary.jpg

It had been a difficult week. All I wanted was some time alone to clear my head, but I couldn't have it. I was scheduled to the hilt for the next few days and stressed about that, too. Then I had this feeling that I should smell my soap. Seemed like a rather dumb idea, but I did it anyhow. In an instant my entire perspective shifted. I felt upbeat, calm, and refreshed.

It was a new soap. Peppermint rosemary from Peace of the Earth in Louisville. I had  considered exploring essential oils since my son became obsessed with smelling spices, so a few days later I stopped by the Aura Cacia display at Whole Foods. I inhaled deeply from the sample bottle of rosemary and my mind instantly felt more alert and focused, even more so than from smelling the soap.

But this is ridiculous, I thought, a mere scent can't do that. Or can it?

For centuries folk traditions have claimed that rosemary enhances memory.  Ophelia says in Hamlet: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance, pray you, love, remember." And, an acquaintance has a 19th century family heirloom quilt with the likeness of a rosemary plant stitched into it above the caption, "Rosemary: for memory".  Now modern science validates our ancestors' claims about this
essential oil.


rosemary photo: Rosemary rosemary.jpg

I 2003 Jan;113(1):15-38.
Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults

This study looked at the effect of lavender and rosemary essential oil on cognition and mood. The rosemary group had significant improvement in overall memory qualities and secondary memory factors, but produced an impairment in speed of memory compared to controls. The rosemary group was also significantly more alert and content than the control group. Conclusion: "These findings indicate that the olfactory properties of these essential oils can produce objective effects on cognitive performance, as well as subjective effects on mood."


2009 Dec;9(4):173-9.
Effects of inhaled rosemary oil on subjective feelings and activities of the nervous system

This study found that after inhalation test subjects became more active and said they felt "fresher". EEG results showed a reduction of alpha 1 and 2 brain waves and an increase in beta waves in the anterior portion of the brain. Conclusion: "These results confirm the stimulatory effects of rosemary oil and provide supporting evidence that brain wave activity, autonomic nervous system activity, as well as mood states are all affected by the inhalation of the rosemary oil."

2007 Feb 28;150(1):89-96. Epub 2007 Feb 7.
Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva

Free radicals are connection to inflammation, aging, and carcinogenesis. This study found that after five minutes of inhalation test subjects had a marked decrease in cortisol, a stress marker, in their saliva. Conclusion: "These findings clarify that lavender and rosemary enhance FRSA and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol, which protects the body from oxidative stress."


Psychogeriatrics. 2009 Dec;9(4):173-
Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer's Disease

"RESULTS: All patients showed significant improvement in personal orientation related to cognitive function on both the GBSS-J and TDAS after therapy. In particular, patients with AD showed significant improvement in total TDAS scores. Result of routine laboratory tests showed no significant changes, suggesting that there were no side-effects associated with the use of aromatherapy. Results from Zarit's score showed no significant changes, suggesting that caregivers had no effect on the improved patient scores seen in the other tests."
"In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving cognitive function, especially in AD patients."

2009 Mar-Apr;23(2):88-93.
The effects of lavender and rosemary essential oils on test-taking anxiety among graduate nursing students 

Conclusion: "In this study, the use of lavender and rosemary essential oil sachets reduced test-taking stress in graduate nursing students as evidenced by lower scores on test anxiety measure, personal statements, and pulse rates."


How I Use Rosemary Essential Oil:
rosemary photo: rosemary rosemary.jpg
Right now I just sniff it from the bottle in the morning before work. It can also be diffused into a room or applied to the body with a carrier oil. This blog tells my essential oil stories, links you to the science, then directs you to people more qualified to explain how to safely use them. I prefer information by Licensed Clinical Aromatherapists to advice from companies selling product. These people are highly trained in safe and effective essential oil use and there is no substitute for that. My favorite sites by Licensed Clinical Aromatherapists are:

Robert Tisserand (Great for the chemistry of essential oils)

The Barefoot Dragonfly

Kokokahn (Great for recipes)

Aromaweb (A perfect warehouse of useful essential oil information)


PS: Rosemary essential oil shows some scientific efficacy for arthritis, but that's another post. Stay tuned.


Rosemary essential oil cautions (Source: Aromaweb)

***Rosemary essential oil should be avoided with pregnancy, epilepsy and hypertension.***

***The Alliance of International Aromatherapists does not recommend internal use of essential oils unless under supervision of an appropriately trained health care professional. I turn and run from any company that recommends internal use of their product. This is serious.


Aromaweb's suggestions for do-it-yourself memory and concentration recipe blends.


University of Maryland Medical Center's review of rosemary essential oil.

Smell of Rosemary May Improve Memory - The UK Independent

Integrative Medicine: Hopes Developing for Alzheimer's Treatment (Meditation & Rosemary Essential Oil study) - The Sacramento Bee


Related Post:

Can Vetiver Essential Oil Help Autism and ADHD?

Some Essential Oils Inhibit MRSA, Strep, and Influenza: Scientific Studies


"For there is no greater influence in a physical body than the effect of odors upon the olfactory nerves." Edgar Cayce - Reading #274-7

This post shares information to inspire your own research, but is not intended as medical advice. It is linked with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Tags: Rosemary essential oil and memory, focus, concentration, mood

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How I Beat Severe Insomnia (Part II): Hypnosis

hypnotherapy photo: MindSight Hypnosis amp Hypnotherapy MindSightHypnosisHypnotherapy2.jpg
Image Credit: Mindsight (Photobucket)

This is part two of my "How I Beat Severe Insomnia" series. Part one discussed how I reset my circadian rhythms with light box treatments in the morning and blue blocker glasses after seven p.m. This system retrains my brain to produce sleep hormones at night instead of during the day. I now wake up well rested and no longer suffer debilitating daytime fatigue. Even so, some nights my brain just cannot find its off switch.

Enter hypnotherapy.

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I chose Rebecca Geracitano for her impressive hypnotherapy credentials. Since hypnosis is unregulated anyone can take a weekend course and put a shingle on the door. Not Rebecca. She has a master's degree in Transformative Theories and Practice from Atlantic University. She is also a certified hypnotherapist with The National Association of Transpersonal Hypnotherapists. And it didn't hurt that she came highly recommended by my doctor.

We had one meeting in Rebecca's office. She made a CD of the session, which I converted to MP3 for my phone. I listen to it at night as I drift off to sleep.

Rebecca does not work from generic, one-size-fits-all hypnosis scripts. Each session is tailored specifically to the needs of individual clients. Prior to our appointment she took detailed notes about my specific sleep issues. We discussed my history of night terrors and sleep paralysis. I also detailed my tendency to fall asleep only to jolt awake a few hours later, unable to drift off again until the wee hours of the morning. Then she carefully researched what physiologically happens in the brain when a person experiences such things and converted it to positive suggestion.

My custom-made hypnosis script focuses on relaxing the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary-adrenal axis, slowing down and soothing the neurotransmitters. It also has me visualize light and various colors while moving through my brain, which totally knocks me out. I'm usually fast asleep before the MP3 of our twenty-nine minutes session is finished. And if I wake up in the middle of night and can't seem to fall back asleep just five minutes of this on my ears will do it.

Rebecca sees clients in her office, by phone, or on Skype. She makes CDs of her sessions so clients can reinforce their hypnotic suggestions as often as they'd like.

*This is not a sponsored post.

*This post discusses my experience with hypnotherapy. It is not intended as medical advice.


Rebecca Geracitano's Website

Web MD on Hypnosis

Mayo Clinic on Hypnosis

Related Post:

How I Beat Severe Insomnia with Light Box Therapy and Blue Blocker Glasses (Part 1)

Blog Hops:

This post is linked to Natural Living MommaFrom the Farm Blog Hop, and Frugally Sustainable.

Tags: Insomnia, Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Rebecca Geracitano
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