Musical hallucinations


Music itself sounds in my head. Sound familiar?

Never have, probably, to anyone, which is already there. Trailers some "girl Praskovya" twisted and twirled-stop. Another thing, when the melody begins to play continuously, and is perceived as though coming from the outside. Here it is - the trouble.

"The song, from time to time playing in your head - this is normal. Another thing, musical hallucinations, they become a serious problem. People can not sleep, can not think," - says British psychiatrist Victor Aziz (Victor Aziz), who along with colleague Nick Warner (Nick Warner) was recently re-drew the attention of scientists on the problem of psychopathology "of music in the brain."

What are these hallucinations, and how to live with them - explained by example.

Once there was a 70-year-old California woman, call her Miss Maggie. One night, she woke up from a small, regular as rain in these parts zemletryaseniya.Nakonets the earth stopped shaking, and Maggie tried to sleep. But then she heard the tune - in my head pretty loud, but not deafening sounded sad old song in the spirit of "We were so young."

When Maggie was a girl, the song played on the piano by her father. Now an elderly woman sitting in bed and listening can not sleep. The song goes on, repeating for hours. It is not known how, but Maggie managed otklyuchitsya.Utrom she recovered under the same "We were so young."

New York Times compared the brain of a person suffering from musical hallucinations, with the iPod.

Gradually, over several months repertoire enriched, sounded another tune. Music often begins to sound when Maggie went to bed, or when the car is kept. In any case, the "concert" lasted for several hours. The sound was always bright, as if the band was playing nearby.

Of course, this was a woman to strain. After a while she found the only way to turn off the music in his head - unfortunately, this was the radio play - fight fire.

However, the ringing in my head was another ominous quality that even the most favorite pieces of music once sounded "inside", it was impossible to perceive from conventional sources, they are wildly annoying.

After several months of torture Maggie still decided to apply his problem to the doctor.Ironically, the story of the patient's doctor was not surprised. He told the woman that she is suffering from a little-known and rare disorders - musical hallucinations - and refers to a small but significant number of people who hear music that is not there.

Most sufferers - the elderly. Songs are often to them of the deepest "archives" of memory. In some sounds Italian opera, which in ancient times, the parents loved to hear.Others rattle carols playing jazz or noise pop tunes.

Someone gets used and even enjoy, but such units. The bulk of the music is trying to stop: close windows and doors, put their cotton in the ears or sleep with a pillow on his head - does not help, of course.

Meanwhile, the musical hallucinations - not a new phenomenon, they invaded the minds of past centuries. For example, the famous composer Robert Schumann hallucinated music late in life and record the matter - said descendants that take dictation ghost Schubert.

But these hallucinations are not recognized for a long time as an independent medical disorder. There have been attempts to link musical hallucinations with a range of human conditions, including old age, deafness, brain tumor, drug overdose, and even a liver transplant.

But it is clear there was only one: music should not be confused and mixed with other delusions, such as voices and visions, because people can listen to tunes without a distortion of reality.

Robert Schumann admitted hallucinations.

The first large-scale study of musical hallucinations was conducted in Japanese psychiatric hospital in 1998. It turned out that they hear music in my head 6 of 3 thousand 678 patients. This relationship, however, does not reflect the real situation, since all the patients had severe mental disorders.

So, Japanese psychiatrists and their few followers found that our brains process music through a unique network of neurons. First sound at the entrance to the brain activates the area near the ears called the primary auditory cortex that starts processing sounds at their most basic level.

Auditory cortex then transmits its own signals to other areas that can recognize more complex features of music, such as rhythm and melody.

It turned out that the network of neurons in the auditory cortex can not start working as it should, without affecting their "failure" any other areas of the brain.

Continued to work in this direction Timothy Griffiths (Timothy Griffiths), a British expert on disorders of hearing from the medical school of the University of Newcastle (Newcastle University Medical School). Last year, he studied six elderly patients with musical hallucinations appeared with deafness.

Using positron emission tomography scientist discovered several areas in the brain that are more active during musical hallucinations. Result doctors puzzled: "I saw almost the same as that of normal people who listen to music" - confessed Griffiths.

The main difference, he said, is that musical hallucinations do not activate the primary auditory cortex, and use only the parts of the brain responsible for turning simple sounds into complex music.

According to the hypothesis of Griffiths, manage music area of ​​the brain is continuously looking for patterns in the signals coming from the ears. Because these areas need a melody, they reinforce certain sounds that match the music, and minimizes background noise.

When the ears have been no sound, the brain may try to grab at least for something, for random pulses and signals, to try to turn them into a structure, digging in his memoirs. So a few notes can suddenly turn into a familiar melody.

For most of us, it may result in the production of the song, which is difficult, but it will come out of our heads, as the constant flow of information, included in our ears, suppresses this music. Deaf this thread, of course, is not, so they can hear the music all the time.

Suppose, with musical hallucinations in deaf Griffiths understood. But what about hearing people like Miss Maggie? We go back to the psychiatrist Victor Aziz. His study - the most recent, and is said to have the most extensive ever.

According to British doctors, 65 years of music in your head is suffering one of the 10,000 people (though it is impossible to establish the true extent - many hide their tunes). Topics and valuable research Aziz and Warner, as they already have analyzed 30 cases of musical hallucinations (average patient was 78 years old, a third of them were blind).

They found that women play music in my head more often than men. In two-thirds of the elderly hear religious music. But Aziz said that "in the future people will hallucinate and popular and classical music, the fact that today hear the time."

Psychiatrists believe that musical hallucinations occur when people are deprived of the rich sounds of the environment, lose their hearing or live in isolation, and then, almost the same explanation as that of Griffiths.

Musical hallucinations may be an explanation of how Beethoven, when he was deaf, he wrote the music.

If there is no sound from the ears, the brain generates random impulses that are interpreted as sounds, then turned for help to the memories of the music, and the song begins.

Aziz believes that musical hallucinations are common among young people, we just do not know about it. Curiously, the doctor found a 28-year-old American, who has learned to live with hallucinations and even found in them a source of comfort - the music in my head reflects his emotional state.

"She plays in the background as the music in the film - said the young man. - Sometimes the melody stops, and it makes me feel insecure, as if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, it seems that something not. "

Musical hallucinations just yet considered a rare disorder, but soon, according to Aziz, may become commonplace, as a modern man lives in a world flooded with music (heard of a toothbrush, is broadcast music through jaw?).

Now it sounds almost anywhere, from virtually anywhere - not only of the players, radios, TVs, and in elevators, gyms, shopping centers, on the streets. It is possible that after the music itself will play in golovah.I still good, if it's not a "girl Praskovya."