Music therapy helps faster recovery in stroke patients, study suggests

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Music has always been a solution for many things! New research has shed positive light of music therapy session for stroke patients that helps them through mood regulation, improved concentration, and promoting changes in the brain to improve function.

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The study was led by Dr Alex Street, of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), and was carried out on a 26-bed stroke and rehabilitation unit at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge.

For the study, they studied the experience of 177 patients who took part in 675 Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) sessions over a two-year period.

The researchers investigated and published the results in the journal Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation.

In addition to playing physical instruments (keyboard, drums and hand-held percussion), iPads featuring touchscreen instruments were used in the trial to help patients with hand rehabilitation, through improving finger dexterity, and cognitive training.

NMT sessions were run alongside existing stroke rehabilitation treatment, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and clinical psychology.

After the experiment, the average response from the participants was that NMT was “helpful” or “very helpful”.

The participants who completed mood scale related questionnaires, there was a reduction in “sad” and an increase in “happy” responses immediately following a session.

Dr Alex Street, the Senior Research Fellow within the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said “Our study found that Neurologic Music Therapy was received enthusiastically by patients, their relatives, and staff.

Speech and language therapists also observed a positive impact on patient arousal and engagement and reported that it may help patients overcome low mood and fatigue.

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