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Music Therapy for Stroke Patients



 
We all know that music can affect our moods. It’s no secret that popping in a favorite CD can change our frame of mind and even inspire us to sing and dance. Music can uplift our spirit, but can it aid in recovery for stroke patients? A recent study seems to think so.

A team of Finnish researchers, lead by Teppo Sarkamo from the University of Helsinki, studied 60 stroke survivors to see if they could benefit from music therapy in addition to their regular stroke rehabilitation. The goal was to offer music therapy immediately, before large changes in the brain had begun, although the 60 patients were already showing signs of movement, attention problems and memory problems. After 3 months, the researchers had noticed a dramatic effect.

Some patients listened to their music of choice for a couple of hours a day, some listened to audio books and some listened to nothing at all. Verbal memory improved in the music group by 60%, focused attention improved by 17% and the music group was also documented as being more clear and positive minded – showing less signs of depression or confusion than the other two groups.

The research team suggests that music should be considered as a helpful addition to regular stroke therapy to help enhance cognitive recovery and a positive mood.

The research team is not sure of the scientific reasons for music improving memory but they are entertaining the idea that music may stimulate damaged areas of the brain, or that it may stimulate mechanisms responsible for the brain to repair neural networks. It is also possible that music works on the part of the nervous system responsible for memory and pleasure. More research may be able to help determine why music therapy is so helpful for stroke patients.








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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

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