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N C C A M Research Blog

Musical Training and the Brain

July 17, 2013
NCCAM Blog Team

On May 13, NCCAM had the pleasure of hosting Aniruddh (Ani) Patel, Ph.D., who delivered a lecture at NIH, “Exploring the Impact of Music on Brain Function,” as part of the Center's Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series. Following the lecture, NCCAM program officer Lee Alekel, Ph.D., sat down with Dr. Patel and asked him a few questions about the neurobiology of music and the brain.

Dr. Patel is an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts. Among his honors are serving as president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2009–2011) and receiving the 2009 Music Has Power Award from the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, New York City. 

Watch the Q and A with Dr. Patel:

Also, you might be interested in viewing Dr. Patel's full lecture, “Exploring the Impact of Music on Brain Function.”

Comments

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As Dr. Patel expands on the immense cognitive and emotional benefit one can recieve from musical training, it is hard to ignore the observed effects of musical therapy. Music has been practiced in every culture worldwide for centuries, and even dates back to its historical use for healing. The Natural Standard database gives music therapy an evidence grade of A for both mood enhancement and relaxation/stress/anxiety. This can be seen through its effect on lowering stress hormones, like cortisol, and its modest effect on blood pressure. In children and adolescents, it has been noted to have a large positive effect on behavioral and developmental disorders, as well as on language skills. While the Natural Standard only gives music therapy an evidence grade of C for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it provides better evidence (B rating) for autism, dementia, depression, infant development/neonatal care, pain (adjunct), Parkinson’s diseaes, Schizophrenia, sleep quality, and overall quality of life. I agree with Dr. Patel in that there needs to be further research to explore music therapy’s full potential.

@SP - Thanks for your comment about research on music therapy. Dr. Patel's full lecture, “Exploring the Impact of Music on Brain Function,” is posted on the NIH Videocast website.

 

Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

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Excellent lecture, thanks for posting. I strongly believe that music can do miracles to your brain. There are studies that show benefits of music in slowing down development of dementia and Alzheimer, you can read more in this article <a href=”http://www.dreampositive.info/music-therapy-for-alzheimer-and-dementia/”>”On Music Therapy for Alzheimer and Dementia“</a>. The article talks about famous soul musician Bobby Womack and how music therapy was able to slow down his dementia symptoms. 

I couldnt support this idea more, to me its just obvious that music increases the brain power,  no more evidence is needed for me, i believe this so much ive started to teaach myself to play the keyboard, amazing how much your concentration and hand eye co-ordination improves

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This can be seen through its effect on lowering stress hormones, like cortisol, and its modest effect on blood pressure. In children and adolescents, it has been noted to have a large positive effect on behavioral and developmental disorders, as well as on language skills. While the Natural Standard only gives music therapy an evidence grade of C for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it provides better evidence (B rating) for autism, dementia, depression, infant development/neonatal care, pain (adjunct), Parkinson’s diseaes, Schizophrenia, sleep quality, and overall quality of life.

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