Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neurologists report unique form of musical hallucinations

Date:
August 20, 2013
Source:
Loyola University Health System
Summary:
Neurologists report a unique case of a woman who hears music, as if a radio were playing in the back of her head. The case raises "intriguing questions regarding memory, forgetting and access to lost memories."

One night when she was trying to fall asleep, a 60-year-old woman suddenly began hearing music, as if a radio were playing at the back of her head.
Credit: © rolffimages / Fotolia

One night when she was trying to fall asleep, a 60-year-old woman suddenly began hearing music, as if a radio were playing at the back of her head.

The songs were popular tunes her husband recognized when she sang or hummed them. But she herself could not identify them.

This is the first known case of a patient hallucinating music that was familiar to people around her, but that she herself did not recognize, according to Dr. Danilo Vitorovic and Dr. José Biller of Loyola University Medical Center. The neurologists describe the unique case in the journal Frontiers in Neurology.

The case raises "intriguing questions regarding memory, forgetting and access to lost memories," the authors write.

Musical hallucinations are a form of auditory hallucinations, in which patients hear songs, instrumental music or tunes, even though no such music is actually playing. Most patients realize they are hallucinating, and find the music intrusive and occasionally unpleasant. There is no cure.

Musical hallucinations usually occur in older people. Several conditions are possible causes or predisposing factors, including hearing impairment, brain damage, epilepsy, intoxications and psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hearing impairment is the most common predisposing condition, but is not by itself sufficient to cause hallucinations.

Vitorovic and Biller describe a hearing-impaired patient who initially hallucinated music when she was trying to fall asleep. Within four months, she was hearing music all the time. For example, she would hear one song over and over for three weeks, then another song would begin playing. The volume never changed, and she was able to hear and follow conversations while hallucinating the music.

The patient was treated with carbamazepine, an anti-seizure drug, and experienced some improvement in her symptoms.

The unique feature of the patient was her ability to hum parts of some tunes and recall bits of lyrics from some songs that she did not even recognize. This raises the possibility that the songs were buried in her memory, but she could not access them except when she was hallucinating.

"Further research is necessary on the mechanisms of forgetfulness," Vitorovic and Biller write. "In other words, is forgotten information lost, or just not accessible?"

Vitorovic is a former chief neurology resident and Biller is a professor and chair in the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Loyola University Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Danilo Vitorovic, José Biller. Musical Hallucinations and Forgotten Tunes – Case Report and Brief Literature Review. Frontiers in Neurology, 2013; 4 DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2013.00109

Cite This Page:

Loyola University Health System. "Neurologists report unique form of musical hallucinations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820094420.htm>.
Loyola University Health System. (2013, August 20). Neurologists report unique form of musical hallucinations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820094420.htm
Loyola University Health System. "Neurologists report unique form of musical hallucinations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820094420.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Sorry, Guys, Only Women Can Make Their Voices Sound Sexier

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2014) — According to researchers at Albright College, women have the ability to make their voices sound sexier, but men don't. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins