We both know that music is a powerful force for healing.
Today, I want to share some exciting ways it’s being used to aid stroke victims in their recovery.
A recent study from the University of Helsinki in Finland explored how music helps heal the brain after a stroke, particularly the regions involving memory. And I have to say, the results are truly remarkable.
The team of researchers randomly assigned 60 study participants—all of whom were recent stroke victims—to one of three intervention groups:
In addition, all the participants received standard stroke rehabilitation.
The intervention period lasted two months. Researchers then followed up with the participants six months after their stroke.
At the onset of the study, a majority of the stroke victims experienced difficulties with movement and cognitive processes, like attention and memory.
But after treatment, researchers found significant improvements in the health of the patients:
These improvements mostly remained consistent six months post-stroke.
The Finnish researchers attribute this significant cognitive recovery directly to the effect of music listening. This helped the stroke patients in three ways:
Interestingly, one of the study authors also noted that 63 percent of the music played contained lyrics, suggesting that a combination of lyrics and instrumentation helped play a crucial role in the music listening group’s recovery.
One of the main study authors, Teppo Särkämö, concluded:
I couldn’t agree more.
Today’s take away is this: If someone you love suffers a stroke, introduce music into their treatment plan as soon as possible. It could make all the difference in how quickly their brain heals and recovers.
In the meantime, be proactive about your brain health.
Here are some ideas to strengthen and protect your brain.
Above all else, remember to make taking impeccable care of yourself non-negotiable.
Jim Donovan, M.Ed.
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Särkämö, Teppo. (2018). Music in the Recovering Brain After Stroke. Helsinki University. Retrieved from: helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/cognitive-brain-research-unit/music-in-the-recovering-brain-after-stroke
University of Helsinki. (2008). Listening to music improves stroke patients’ recovery, study shows. ScienceDaily.com. Retrieved from: sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219203554.htm
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About the author:
Jim Donovan M.Ed. is a multi-platinum musician, educator and TEDx speaker. His mission is to share the restorative power of music through education and performance. He is also an Assistant Professor and Director of Music and Wellness at Saint Francis University.
His viral TEDx Talk "How to Trick Your Brain Into Falling Asleep" has been viewed over 6 million times to date.
Learn more: https://www.donovanhealth.com/