Stacey Gayle no longer throws a fit when she hears reggae or
hip-hop sung by her favorite artist, Sean Paul.
Four years after being diagnosed with epilepsy, Gayle recently
underwent brain surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center to
cure a rare condition known as musicogenic epilepsy.
Gayle is a 25-year-old customer service employee at a bank in
Alberta, Canada. She was suffering as many as 10 grand mal seizures
a day, despite being treated with medications designed to control
them. The condition became so bad she eventually had to quit her
job and leave the church choir where she sang.
Eighteen months ago, she began to suspect that music by Paul was
triggering some of her seizures. She recalled being at a barbecue
and collapsing when the Jamaican rapper's music started playing,
and then remembered having a previous seizure when she heard his
Her suspicions were confirmed on a visit to the Long Island
medical center last February, when she played Paul's hit
"Temperature" on her iPod for doctors. Soon after, she suffered
"Being that the seizures could be triggered by the music, this
was a very interesting opportunity to study Stacey's brain," said
Dr. Ashesh Mehta, the hospital's director of epilepsy surgery.
During the first surgery, doctors implanted more than 100
electrodes in the right side of her brain to pinpoint the abnormal
area of her brain. The surgeons followed that procedure with a
second surgery to remove the electrodes, along with parts of her
brain suspected of causing the seizures.
"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
Within three days, the woman was released from the hospital and
has not experienced a seizure since.
(Xinhua/Agencies January 18, 2008)