Insight & Analysis

Last night a DJ saved my life…literally

Published: May 2019

The power of bass knows no limits. A couple of weeks ago we reported on the positive effect that hip hop music has on the taste and texture of Emmental cheese. This week the all-powerful low-end is saving lives.

Scientists exploring different genres of modern music have now found that dubstep has a neutralising effect on one of the world’s most effective killers.

A genuinely scientific study has found that a track by dubstep artiste, Skrillex, could be an effective way to protect against the threat of mosquitoes.

Every year, almost 700 million people acquire a mosquito-borne illness. More than one million will die as a result.

Yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes Aegypti), commonly found in more tropical areas of the world, can spread potentially lethal diseases such as the zika virus, dengue fever and yellow fever.

In the study, researchers subjected the insect to the ultra-low-end frequencies of Skrillex’s ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’.

“Sound and its reception are crucial for reproduction, survival, and population maintenance of many animals,” they explained.

“In insects, low-frequency vibrations facilitate sexual interactions, whereas noise disrupts the perception of signals from conspecifics [members of the same species] and hosts.”

Skrillex’s music offers a mixture of very high and very low frequencies. Female adult mosquitoes that were exposed to the song attacked their “hosts” later and less often than those which were not exposed to dubstep beats, the study found.

“The occurrence of blood feeding activity was lower when music was being played,” the team reported. Another result was that the insects “copulated far less often”.

“The observation that such music can delay host attack, reduce blood feeding and disrupt mating provides new avenues for the development of music-based personal protective and control measures against Aedes-borne diseases,” the report concluded.

Bass fans in the tropics now have the ultimate excuse for playing it on 11.

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