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Posts Tagged ‘music health science stroke’

Here’s an interesting study which split stroke patients into three groups – one group listened to music of their choice, one to audio books and the third didn’t listen to anything other than the sounds around them.

After three months, verbal memory improved by 60% in the music group, compared with18% in the audio book group, and 29% in the non-listeners. Focused attention – the ability to control and perform mental operations and resolve conflicts – improved by 17% in the music group, but not at all in the other two groups. In addition, patients in the music group were less likely to be depressed, or confused.

The researchers point out that

during the first weeks and months after stroke, the patients typically spend about three-quarters of their time each day in non-therapeutic activities, mostly in their rooms, inactive and without interaction, even although this time-window is ideal for rehabilitative training from the point of view of brain plasticity. “Our research shows for the first time that listening to music during this crucial period can enhance cognitive recovery and prevent negative mood, and it has the advantage that it is cheap and easy to organise.”

What a great idea! And how interesting. I’ve often felt that a lot of hospital time for patients is empty and involves no explicit therapeutic intervention. Yes, the physical environment of the hospital, if well designed, can contribute a therapeutic influence, but not many hospitals are designed that way, and even in the ones that are, it strikes me as a good idea to fill more of the patients’ average day with therapeutic interventions.

This final paragraph in the BBC’s report of this work really struck me –

Dr Isabel Lee, of The Stroke Association, welcomed the research. However, she said: “Further research into the effect of music on stroke patients needs to be undertaken before any widespread use, as presently the mechanisms of any effect remain unclear.”

Really? We’d better not allow stroke patients to choose to listen to music they like until we understand the “mechanism of action”? Has it come to this? Is this an important thing for science to discover? How music works???

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