Music therapy could help improve brain function

WINK

Scientists are currently studying the feasibility of treating “brain fog” with music. It can be as easy as downloading an app to your phone.

Music has been used as a medicine for years, often to treat anxiety. But, what if patients could use music to improve their brain function and cognition on their own?

Dr. Soma Sengupta is a neuro-oncologist at the University of Cincinnati. “I wanted an app that could allow patients to express their music, their musical ability,” Dr. Sengupta said.

Scientists at the University of Cincinnati were set to develop ARMCAN, active receptive music for cancer patients. These researchers designed the app to be used in two ways.

The first is to stream music to enjoy the music they already love. The second way is to allow patients to take a more active role by creating their own music.

“So in other words, to have musical turns where you can layer genres and create your own piece of music,” Dr. Sengupta said.

Patients are assigned to a group that listens or creates music. Then they do their assigned activity for 15 minutes a day.

Dr Sengupta believes that repetition and music help. “So these technologies in a way help rewire and exercise areas of the brain that normally wouldn’t.”

Researchers have started randomized trials with breast cancer survivors who suffer from brain fog. The team plans to assess patients using surveys and MRIs at six, 12 and 18 months. They hope to be able to observe any changes in the brain during music therapy.

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Corina C. Butler