Clinical trials at Harvard University show how music alleviates the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
NEW YORK, July 13, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — A recent clinical trial conducted by The Institute for Music and Brain Science at Harvard University on the positive effects of music on Parkinson’s disease has received substantial support from science activist, Jeffrey Epstein and his foundation, The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation. The study was conducted with the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.The trial evaluated the effects of ambient music on a group of Parkinson’s patients with severe to mild symptoms. Specifically, the study looked at visuomotor integration, rapid alternating movements (RAM’s) and gait. Twenty trials per category were conducted and measured in milliseconds. The music had a strong metrical rhythm and medium tempos confined to a range of 128 to 192 beats per minute. Control test conditions of patients were either silence or asymmetrical instrumental music. The results were encouraging: in the visuomotor tests, 40% of those with mild Parkinson’s were significantly faster with ambient music. In the RAM tests, 83% of those with moderate Parkinson’s showed faster results. In the gait tests, 25% of those with moderate Parkinson’s showed faster and larger strides.
“The results are remarkable,” Jeffrey Epstein asserted. “More studies need to be done to show that music improves motor coordination. However, these studies highlight how areas in the auditory cortex are affected, providing a road map for how to duplicate the stimulus and enhance it.”
The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation is a long-standing supporter of science research at Harvard University. In 2003, it gave a $30 million grant to Harvard to establish the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, which studies evolutionary biology from a mathematical point of view.
Founded by Dr. Mark Tramo, the Institute for Music and Brain Science seeks to advance knowledge about the neurological impact of music and to combat neurological and other diseases using music as a lens into the brain and as a rehabilitator. Dr. Tramo is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Attending Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the recipient of numerous awards for original research on the effects of music on the brain.
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