25-year-old Stacey Gayle suffered from seizures for four years at seemingly random intervals–and despite a full-on pharmaceutical assault, they couldn’t stop. Until one day in 2006, when she realized that one of the culprits was, in fact, the beat from Sean Paul’s “Temperature,” which was all over the radio at the time. Later on, she realized that other ubiquitous hits like “Umbrella” and “Beautiful Girls” also had the same effect, a development that would basically never allow her to leave her house again, what with those songs seemingly being piped into New York City’s air for much of the summer. So she went to her neurologist’s office, multiple copies of Now in tow, to see what could be done:
Tired of living in fear, she sought out Dr. Ashesh Mehta, a neurosurgeon and director of epilepsy surgery at the medical center.
Mehta said at first he was skeptical of Gayle’s claims.
“It’s extremely rare,” Mehta said of “musicogenic” epilepsy. “There are only 50 to 100 cases ever reported of this disorder.”
But he was convinced after Gayle gave herself a seizure by listening to Paul’s song.
On Oct. 3, doctors removed a 3-inch portion of her right front temporal lobe, the same area that processes music.
The operation worked. Gayle said she has returned to singing in her church choir and attending York College, where she is studying to become a teacher.
And now she likes “Temperature”! It’s a happy ending for everyone, except, of course, her friends who got sick of that song a year and a half ago.