re musical hallucinations (Colette McKAY )

Subject: re musical hallucinations
From:    Colette McKAY  <colette(at)UNIMELB.EDU.AU>
Date:    Thu, 8 Aug 2002 11:51:54 +1000

Dear all, For those who are interested,there is a NY Academy of Science volume devoted to "The Biology of Music". There are a couple of papers in there that describe musical hallucinations associated with a form of epilepsy. In it's worst case, the person has epileptic fits initiated by hearing particular musical sequences (not just any music). In other cases, they experience musical hallucinations. Also, musical hallucinations have been associated with the hearing loss due to presbiacusis. The theory behind this is the "disconnection" syndrome described as Charles-Bonnet, in which, if the sensory input is disrupted, the auditory processing "discovers" it's own patterns. [This could be an explanation of the experiences of those who report hearing music when subjected to lengthy noise episodes?] Also, experiments with electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe (either side, but mostly on right) have elicited very clear musical hallucinations. It is interesting that the more-common form of auditory hallucination (associated with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia) is almost exclusively that of speech rather than music, which suggests that speech and music processing in the brain are quite separate (A theme discussed at length in the NYAS book). We have done studies with these patients which suggest that the interhemispheric pathways are disrupted. Colette McKay ************************************************* NOTE NEW PHONE AND FAX NUMBERS! Dr. Colette M McKay The Garnett Passe & Rodney Williams Senior Research Fellow The University of Melbourne, Dept. of Otolaryngology 384-388 Albert St., East Melbourne 3002, Australia colette(at) phone +613 9667 7506 fax +613 9667 7518 ************************************************

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