Studies show music’s positive effects on health
Researchers have begun to perform rigorous studies on music’s impact on health and are finding positive effects on stroke recovery and other neurological diseases, as well as influences in areas of the brain involved in anxiety and relaxation, mood, creativity and memory.
Here are a few examples:
- Cancer patients taking chemotherapy who received 20 minutes of live music therapy reported a greater than 50 percent drop in anxiety in a 2007 study at Florida State University. A control group receiving no music reported an 11 percent increase in anxiety.
- Stroke patients who listened to music two hours a day for two months after the stroke had stronger improvements in verbal memory and focused attention than patients who listened to books on tape or nothing, according to a 2008 study from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Improvements held even six months after the stroke. The music-listening group experienced less depression and confusion, as well.
- In patients with an average of six years of chronic pain, listening to music reduced their pain by up to 21 percent and depression by up to 25 percent, according to a 2006 study by researchers at Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University. The control group had slightly higher pain at the end of the study.
- Surgery patients who listened to recorded music on headphones had a four-fold reduction in postsurgical pain compared with a control group that received no music, according to a 2005 study at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
This story originally appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Cleveland Clinic Magazine.
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