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Musical hallucinations teach Oklahoma researchers about MS pathways

Researchers at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation are studying how music affects multiple sclerosis patients.
By Greg Elwell, For The Oklahoman Published: April 15, 2014

Musical hallucinations are rarely reported in MS, which led several doctors to dismiss the patient’s claims as a psychiatric problem, Husain said. That’s what led her to OMRF’s Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence.

“We’re able to take a more detailed history and go into real depth with patients,” she said. Spending time with the patient, they were able to pinpoint what was happening and understand more about the cause of the hallucinations.

Unfortunately, because MS is frequently a progressive disease, there is not yet a way to stop the patient’s hallucinations, Husain said. The patient wears headphones at night and plays other songs in order to sleep.

“We are lucky to have patients who want us to study and learn from them,” she said. “They come seeking treatment, but they also want us to advance the science to improve the lives of future patients.”

Greg Elwell is a public affairs specialist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.