IDIBELL-UB researchers study therapeutic effects of music in stroke patients


The study is based on the assumption that music activates parts of the brain governing the motor activity of body. Previous researches have confirmed the relationship between the brain areas controlling hearing and body movements. Still, there is no study about the effectiveness of music in the recovery of mobility in people who have suffered a stroke.

The investigation has a multidisciplinary perspective that includes techniques of neurology, neuropsychology, musicology and cognitive neuroscience.

Play an instrument

The project investigates the reorganization of brain’s sensory and motor system when patients learn to play a musical instrument (piano and electronic pad) and if this activity can regain mobility in affected persons. The researchers compared the effectiveness of this new musical treatment with conventional neurorehabilitation therapies.

Preliminary results published in international journals highlights the improvements seen in some patients using this therapy and other compared with conventional motor therapies.

To determine the effectiveness of treatment and assess the changes in the brain while performing tests, researchers use various neuroimaging techniques after the application of different therapies for neurorehabilitation: electroencephalography, magnetic resonance imaging and transcortical magnetic stimulation.

Researchers hope to learn about the physiological mechanisms produced by musical therapy, which could allow the development of new rehabilitation techniques for patients who have suffered a stroke.

The coordinator of the study, Antoni Rodríguez-Fornells (ICREA researcher), highlights the difficulty of getting patients to participate voluntarily in the study: “the investigation requires a considerable amount of patients who have had an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke with significant loss of mobility in upper extremities, but with enough mobility to participate in the study”.

The project is funded by La Marató de TV3 and has the participation of researchers from the University of Magdeburg (Germany) and the Neurology Service of Bellvitge University Hospital.

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