Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after cerebral artery stroke

Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, and Helsinki Brain Research Centre, Helsinki, Finland.
Brain (Impact Factor: 9.2). 04/2008; 131(Pt 3):866-76. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awn013
Source: PubMed


We know from animal studies that a stimulating and enriched environment can enhance recovery after stroke, but little is known about the effects of an enriched sound environment on recovery from neural damage in humans. In humans, music listening activates a wide-spread bilateral network of brain regions related to attention, semantic processing, memory, motor functions, and emotional processing. Music exposure also enhances emotional and cognitive functioning in healthy subjects and in various clinical patient groups. The potential role of music in neurological rehabilitation, however, has not been systematically investigated. This single-blind, randomized, and controlled trial was designed to determine whether everyday music listening can facilitate the recovery of cognitive functions and mood after stroke. In the acute recovery phase, 60 patients with a left or right hemisphere middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke were randomly assigned to a music group, a language group, or a control group. During the following two months, the music and language groups listened daily to self-selected music or audio books, respectively, while the control group received no listening material. In addition, all patients received standard medical care and rehabilitation. All patients underwent an extensive neuropsychological assessment, which included a wide range of cognitive tests as well as mood and quality of life questionnaires, one week (baseline), 3 months, and 6 months after the stroke. Fifty-four patients completed the study. Results showed that recovery in the domains of verbal memory and focused attention improved significantly more in the music group than in the language and control groups. The music group also experienced less depressed and confused mood than the control group. These findings demonstrate for the first time that music listening during the early post-stroke stage can enhance cognitive recovery and prevent negative mood. The neural mechanisms potentially underlying these effects are discussed.

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Available from: Isabelle Peretz, Jul 19, 2015
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    • "The physiological connectivity of the mesolimbic system was enhanced with listening to music in healthy individuals (Menon & Levitin, 2005; Vink, Bruinsma, & Scholten, 2013). Music listening has shown to improve mood and cognitive functions such as focused attention and verbal memory during recovery from stroke (Sarkamo, et al., 2008). There is growing evidence of the effectiveness of music not only to alleviate stress and anxiety but also to improve cognitive functions of healthy individuals as well as people in a host of clinical conditions. "
    Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, UK; 08/2015
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    • "According to this hypothesis, this positive effect is not specific to music, it is essentially provoked by the emotional aspect of music. This interpretation was used by Sarkamo et al. (2008). Nevertheless, in neglect patients, another hypothesis could be assumed to explain why music could be useful to rehabilitate spatial attention. "
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    ABSTRACT: Unilateral spatial neglect (USN) is an attention deficit in the contralesional side of space which occurs after a cerebral stroke, mainly located in the right hemisphere. USN patients are disabled in all daily activities. USN is an important negative prognostic factor of functional recovery and of socio-professional reinsertion. Thus, patient rehabilitation is a major challenge. As this deficit has been described in many sensory modalities (including hearing), many sensory and poly-sensory rehabilitation methods have been proposed to USN patients. They are mainly based on visual, tactile modalities and on motor abilities. However, these methods appear to be quite task-specific and difficult to transfer to functional activities. Very few studies have focused on the hearing modality and even fewer studies have been conducted in music as a way of improving spatial attention. Therefore, more research on such retraining needs is neccessary in order to make reliable conclusions on its efficiency in long-term rehabilitation. Nevertheless, some evidence suggests that music could be a promising tool to enhance spatial attention and to rehabilitate USN patients. In fact, music is a material closely linked to space, involving common anatomical and functional networks. The present paper aims firstly at briefly reviewing the different procedures of sensory retraining proposed in USN, including auditory retraining, and their limits. Secondly, it aims to present the recent scientific evidence that makes music a good candidate for USN patients' neuro-rehabilitation.
    Frontiers in Psychology 12/2014; 5(1503). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01503 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "The potential mood mechanism of MIT is based on the fact that music has been shown to have a strong effect on emotions and mood (reviewed in Juslin and Vastfjall, 2008; Koelsch, 2010). Post-stroke depression is associated with greater degree of cognitive impairment and with lower cognitive recovery when controlling for the size of the lesion (Robinson et al., 1986) and music listening leads to better cognitive recovery along with a decrease of depressed and confused mood when compared to stories listening in post-stroke rehabilitation (Särkämö et al., 2008). It was suggested that the power of music on mood could explain a part of the beneficial effects of singing therapies on language recovery. "
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    ABSTRACT: Melodic intonation therapy (MIT) is a structured protocol for language rehabilitation in people with Broca's aphasia. The main particularity of MIT is the use of intoned speech, a technique in which the clinician stylizes the prosody of short sentences using simple pitch and rhythm patterns. In the original MIT protocol, patients must repeat diverse sentences in order to espouse this way of speaking, with the goal of improving their natural, connected speech. MIT has long been regarded as a promising treatment but its mechanisms are still debated. Recent work showed that rhythm plays a key role in variations of MIT, leading to consider the use of pitch as relatively unnecessary in MIT. Our study primarily aimed to assess the relative contribution of rhythm and pitch in MIT's generalization effect to non-trained stimuli and to connected speech. We compared a melodic therapy (with pitch and rhythm) to a rhythmic therapy (with rhythm only) and to a normally spoken therapy (without melodic elements). Three participants with chronic post-stroke Broca's aphasia underwent the treatments in hourly sessions, 3 days per week for 6 weeks, in a cross-over design. The informativeness of connected speech, speech accuracy of trained and non-trained sentences, motor-speech agility, and mood was assessed before and after the treatments. The results show that the three treatments improved speech accuracy in trained sentences, but that the combination of rhythm and pitch elicited the strongest generalization effect both to non-trained stimuli and connected speech. No significant change was measured in motor-speech agility or mood measures with either treatment. The results emphasize the beneficial effect of both rhythm and pitch in the efficacy of original MIT on connected speech, an outcome of primary clinical importance in aphasia therapy.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2014; 8:592. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00592 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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