Maybe you know what a seizure looks like, but ever wonder what one sounds like? To create the strange music in the recording above, Stanford University neurologist Dr. Josef Parvizi and his colleague Dr. Chris Chafe used electrodes to record the brain waves of an individual in the throes of a seizure. Then they converted the spikes of rapidly firing brain cells into tones that mimic the human voice.
"My initial interest was an artistic one at heart, but, surprisingly, we could instantly differentiate seizure activity from non-seizure states with just our ears," Chafe, a professor of music research at the university, said in a written statement. "It was like turning a radio dial from a static-filled station to a clear one."
The researchers say their "brain stethoscope" could lead to the development of a biofeedback device that would make it possible for caregivers to detect seizures in people with epilepsy simply by listening to their brain wave activity.
"Someone -– perhaps a mother caring for a child -- who hasn't received training in interpreting visual EEGs [electroencephalograms] can hear the seizure rhythms and easily appreciate that there is a pathological brain phenomenon taking place," Parvizi, associate professor of neurology at the university, said in the statement.