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Can music assist in the treatment of Parkinson Disease?

Music therapy has shown promise in assisting with the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain's ability to produce dopamine, leading to tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with movement. Studies have shown that music therapy can help improve motor function, balance, and gait in people with Parkinson's disease.


Music therapy can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are common in people with Parkinson's. One type of music therapy that has been studied in the context of Parkinson's disease is rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS). RAS involves using music with a strong, rhythmic beat to help improve movement and reduce symptoms such as tremors. The use of RAS has been shown to improve gait velocity, stride length, and other measures of motor function in people with Parkinson's. This was further evaluated by a study performed by Erra et al., who wanted to focus on whether RAS improved spatio-temporal gait parameters with the most optimal stimulation frequency. Approximately, 30 Parkinson participants were involved with a control group of 18 participants. There were 3 different RAS frequencies of 90%, 100% and 110% of the participants preferred walking cadence. A novel global index was used to determine the difference in gait phase distribution. The result of the study found that the novel global index improved dramatically with slight improvements of spatial-temporal parameters of a frequency of RAS of 110%. Therefore, a RAS frequency of 110% was found to be the most preferred walking frequency which proved to be beneficial in improving gait pattern in patients with Parkinson’s disease.


Another way that music can be used is through music therapy, which involves a trained music therapist working with the person with Parkinson's disease to create individualized music-based interventions. Music therapy has been shown to improve a range of symptoms, including motor symptoms, mood, and quality of life. Another type of music therapy that has been studied is singing therapy, which involves singing or vocal exercises to help improve respiratory function and vocal control. Singing therapy has been shown to help improve voice quality and reduce speech-related symptoms in people with Parkinson's.


Overall, while more research is needed, music therapy has shown promise in assisting with the treatment of Parkinson's disease, and may be a valuable addition to a comprehensive treatment plan. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new treatment or therapy.

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