Breaking News
February 18, 2019 - Combination of PARP inhibitor and immunotherapy results in tumor regression in SCLC mouse models
February 18, 2019 - Heavy smoking could lead to vision loss, study finds
February 18, 2019 - New diagnostic test for malaria uses spit, not blood
February 18, 2019 - New therapeutic molecules show promise in reversing memory loss related to depression, aging
February 18, 2019 - Darla Shine joins anti-vaccination campaigners
February 18, 2019 - New study outlines sex-specific issues in ischemic heart disease
February 18, 2019 - Drug combinations could become first-line treatment for metastatic kidney cancer
February 18, 2019 - Lifetime adversity, increased neural processing during trauma combine to intensify core PTSD symptoms
February 18, 2019 - HRQoL Scores Decrease With Treatment Line in Multiple Myeloma
February 18, 2019 - Convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes is a cause of erectile dysfunction
February 18, 2019 - Art Institute of Chicago announces results of research on five terracotta sculptures
February 18, 2019 - New PET/CT tracer shows high detection rate for diagnosis of acute venous thromboembolism
February 18, 2019 - Smoking may blight immune response against melanoma and reduce survival
February 18, 2019 - How Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain
February 18, 2019 - Diabetes tops common conditions for frequent geriatric emergency patients
February 18, 2019 - Longer-lived sperm produces offspring with healthier lifespans
February 18, 2019 - New dental adhesive prevents tooth decay around orthodontic brackets
February 18, 2019 - New eHealth tool shows potential to improve quality of asthma care
February 18, 2019 - New Australian initiative helps emergency clinicians to improve patient care
February 17, 2019 - Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ APL-2 Receives Fast Track Designation from the FDA for the Treatment of Patients with Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria
February 17, 2019 - Researchers identify faulty ‘brake’ that interferes with heart muscle’s ability to contract and relax
February 17, 2019 - Support from trusted adults can reduce risk of dying in suicidal teens, finds study
February 17, 2019 - Heart attack awareness improved since 2008
February 17, 2019 - Exercise gives a better brain boost to older men than women
February 17, 2019 - New research disproves previous assumptions of how looks influence personality
February 17, 2019 - Cannabis use as a teenager linked to depression later in life
February 17, 2019 - Sinks by Toilets in ICU Patient Rooms Harbor Harmful Bacteria
February 17, 2019 - Cancer cells’ plasticity makes them harder to stop
February 17, 2019 - Young cannabis users have increased risk of depression and suicidal behavior
February 17, 2019 - Tasmanian Devils Likely to Survive Cancer Scourge
February 17, 2019 - Neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade seems effective in glioblastoma
February 17, 2019 - Personal, social factors play role in enabling sustainable return to work after ill health
February 17, 2019 - Mouse studies show ‘inhibition’ theory of autism wrong
February 17, 2019 - Study shows how neuroactive steroids inhibit activity of pro-inflammatory proteins
February 17, 2019 - Use of liver grafts from older donors decreased despite better outcomes in recipients
February 17, 2019 - MUSC researchers discover new mechanism for a class of anti-cancer drugs
February 17, 2019 - HPV misconceptions are causing women to miss smear tests
February 17, 2019 - Sanofi and Regeneron Offer Praluent (alirocumab) at a New Reduced U.S. List Price
February 17, 2019 - Researchers say auditory testing can identify children for autism screening
February 17, 2019 - New method analyzes how single biological cells react to stressful situations
February 17, 2019 - WVU gynecologic oncologist investigates novel treatment for cervical and vaginal cancers
February 17, 2019 - ADHD diagnoses poorly documented
February 17, 2019 - Majority of gender minority youth do not identify with traditional sexual identity labels
February 17, 2019 - AbbVie, Teneobio enter into strategic transaction to develop potential treatment for multiple myeloma
February 17, 2019 - Lower Birth Weight May Up Risk for Psychiatric Disorders
February 17, 2019 - Scientists identify reversible molecular defect underlying rheumatoid arthritis
February 17, 2019 - Moffitt researchers shed light on how CAR T cells function mechanistically
February 16, 2019 - Female Anatomy May Play Big Role in Sperm’s Success
February 16, 2019 - BMI may mediate inverse link between fiber intake, knee OA
February 16, 2019 - Movement impairments in autism can be reversed through behavioral training
February 16, 2019 - Studies address racial disparities in postpartum period and cardiovascular health
February 16, 2019 - Scientists implicate hidden genes in the severity of autism symptoms
February 16, 2019 - Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease
February 16, 2019 - Neuroscientists show how the brain responds to texture
February 16, 2019 - Gilead Announces Topline Data From Phase 3 STELLAR-4 Study of Selonsertib in Compensated Cirrhosis (F4) Due to Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
February 16, 2019 - What Can I Do About Sweating? (for Teens)
February 16, 2019 - Companies navigate dementia conversations with older workers
February 16, 2019 - Newly developed stem cell technologies show promise for treating PD patients
February 16, 2019 - Collaborative material research could advance self-assembling nanomaterials
February 16, 2019 - Researchers take major step in creating technology that mimics the human brain
February 16, 2019 - Erasing memories associated with cocaine use reduces drug seeking behavior
February 16, 2019 - Artificial intelligence can accurately predict prognosis of ovarian cancer patients
February 16, 2019 - Racial disparities in cancer deaths on the decline for America
February 16, 2019 - FDA authorizes new interoperable insulin pump for children, adults with diabetes
February 16, 2019 - Coexisting Medical Conditions, Smoking Explain PTSD-CVD Link
February 16, 2019 - Skin Cancer Screening: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
February 16, 2019 - ‘Happiness’ exercises can boost mood in those recovering from substance use disorder
February 16, 2019 - Cell manipulation could soon halt or reverse aging
February 16, 2019 - Pumped Breast Milk Falls Short of Breastfed Version
February 16, 2019 - Men’s porn habits could fuel partners’ eating disorders, study suggests
February 16, 2019 - Rapid progression of age-related diseases may result from formation of vicious cycles
February 16, 2019 - Immune checkpoint molecule protects against future development of cancer
February 16, 2019 - New method produces hydrogels that have properties similar to cells’ environment
February 16, 2019 - $4.1 million funding for heart research on Valentine’s Day
February 16, 2019 - General anesthesia in early infancy unlikely to have lasting effects on developing brains
February 16, 2019 - New breakthroughs for muscular dystrophy research
February 16, 2019 - First Opinion: Embryo editing for higher IQ is a fantasy. Embryo profiling for it is almost here
February 16, 2019 - Vapers develop cancer-related gene deregulation as cigarette smokers
February 16, 2019 - Bringing Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) to the Community
February 16, 2019 - Decolonization protocol after hospital discharge can prevent dangerous infections
Sound Health | NIH News in Health

Sound Health | NIH News in Health

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

January 2018

Print this issue

Music Gets You Moving and More

Music has been around since ancient times. It is part of every known culture. It can get your foot tapping, lift your mood, and even help you recall a distant memory. Did you know that music can bring other health benefits? Scientists are exploring the different ways music stimulates healthier bodies and minds.

“When you listen to or create music, it affects how you think, feel, move, and more,” says neuroscientist Dr. Robert Finkelstein, who co-leads NIH’s music and health initiative.

“Today, modern technologies are helping researchers learn more about how the brain works, what parts of the brain respond to music, and how music might help ease symptoms of certain diseases and conditions,” he explains.

Your Brain on Music

The brain is a complex processing hub. It’s the control center of your nervous system, the network of nerve cells that carry messages to and from your body and the brain. A healthy brain tries to make sense of the world around you and the constant information it receives, including sound and music.

“Sound is an important and profound force in our lives,” explains Northwestern University neuroscientist Dr. Nina Kraus. “The more we exercise our sound processing in the brain, the better the brain becomes at making sense of sound and the world around us. Music does this more than any other sound.”

Music and other sounds enter the ear as sound waves. These create vibrations on our eardrum that are transformed into electrical signals. The electrical signals travel up the auditory related to hearing nerve to the brain’s auditory cortex. This brain area interprets the sound into something we recognize and understand.

But music affects more than the brain areas that process sound. Using techniques that take pictures of the brain, like fMRI, scientists have found that music affects other brain areas. When music stimulates the brain, it shows up on brain images as flickers of bright light. Studies have shown that music “lights up” brain areas involved in emotion, memory, and even physical movement.

“Music can help facilitate movement,” Finkelstein explains. NIH-funded scientists are investigating whether music can help patients with movement disorders, like Parkinson’s disease. Patients with this condition slowly lose their ability to walk and move over time.

“Studies show that when a certain beat is embedded in music, it can help people with Parkinson’s disease walk,” Finkelstein says. Another study is looking at how dance compares to other types of exercise in people with Parkinson’s disease.

There’s also evidence that music may be helpful for people with other health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, traumatic brain injury, stroke, aphasia, autism, and hearing loss.

Building Strong Minds

Playing a musical instrument engages many parts of the brain at once. This can especially benefit children and teens, whose brains are still developing. Introducing music to young kids can positively influence their ability to focus, how they act, and language development.

Kraus’s research team at Northwestern studies how musical training influences brain development. They found that music has positive effects on kids’ learning abilities, even when the training starts as late as high school.

“The teens in our study showed biological changes in the brain after two years of participating in consistent music-making activities in school,” she explains. Kraus says that these changes affect learning ability and can help improve skills like reading and writing. These benefits can be long lasting, too.

“Once you teach your brain how to respond to sound effectively it continues to do that well beyond when the music lessons stop,” Kraus explains. “A little music goes a long way, but the longer you play, the stronger your brain becomes.”

Being musical may also protect you from hearing loss as you age. We naturally lose our hearing ability over time. In particular, it becomes harder to hear conversations in a loud environment. But researchers have found that musicians are better at picking out a person’s voice in a noisy background.

Music Therapy

Listening to and making music on your own can bring health benefits. But some people may also benefit from the help of a board-certified music therapist. Music therapists are trained in how to use music to meet the mental, social, and physical needs of people with different health conditions.

“Music therapy can take many forms that go beyond listening to music,” explains Dr. Sheri Robb, a music therapist and behavioral intervention researcher at Indiana University.

Music therapists can use certain parts of music, like the rhythm or melody, to help people regain abilities they’ve lost from a brain injury or developmental disability. For example, a person who’s had a stroke may be able to sing words, but not speak them.

Music therapists also rely on the social qualities of music. Shared musical experiences can help a family member connect with a loved one who has dementia. Music can also be used to help young people with behavior disorders learn ways to manage their emotions.

Robb’s research focuses on developing and testing music therapy interventions for children and teens with cancer and their families. In one study, music therapists helped young people undergoing high-risk cancer treatments to write song lyrics and create music videos about what was most important to them.

“With the help of music therapists, these teenagers were able to identify their strengths and positive ways to cope, remain connected with family and friends, and improve communication during a challenging time,” Robb explains.

Music in Your Life

Music can offer many health benefits, but it may not be helpful for everyone. Traumatic injuries and brain conditions can change the way a person perceives and responds to music. Some people may find some types of music overstimulating. Others may find that certain music brings up emotional or traumatic memories.

“It’s important for healthcare providers to identify and understand when music isn’t helpful and may be harmful,” Robb says. “And this is an area where music therapists can be helpful.”

As scientists continue to learn more about music and the brain, try striking a chord for your health. Whether you’re looking to boost your mood, stay connected to others, or improve symptoms of a health condition, add a little music to your life.

“Think of music like physical fitness or what you eat,” Kraus says. “To see the most health benefits, try to include music as a regular, consistent part of your life. It’s never too late to add music to your life.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles