Listening to Mozart could be a way to reduce epileptic fits. Children aged two to 18 who listened to the composer’s music had a significant drop in epileptic activity in the brain, according to new research.

Doctors at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, who carried out the research, say it may offer a low-cost anti-epileptic therapy for children, some of whom do not respond to current treatments: the annual cost of anti-epileptic drugs to the NHS is about £165 million.

In the study, 45 children listened to the first five minutes of the Sonata For Two Pianos In D Major or to control music.

Electrical activity in their brains was measured.

Results showed a significant reduction in the frequency of epileptic discharges while listening to Mozart, but no change with the control music.

Just how the sonata could have such an effect is unclear, but one theory is that Mozart’s music has a unique pattern of rhythms and melodic lines that affects electrical activity.