Posts Tagged Music therapy

[WEB SITE] Music Training and Neuroplasticity

With our multi sensory brain, music harnesses powers of nature, culture, and mind. How much is the brain changed by the effects of music training and neuroplasticity?

Music is one of the most demanding cognitive and neural challenges, requiring very accurate timing of multiple actions, precise interval control of pitch not involved in language, and multiple different ways of producing sound. Auditory and motor actions influence each other in a constant interplay, which is largely unknown.

Brain Lesion Effects on Music

All brain imaging is done in a time scale of seconds, but the brain functions in the scale of milliseconds. Imaging studies do not really correlate exactly to mental states (see post on limits of imaging). Because of this limitation, a major way to study specific regions of brain related to music has been study of brain lesions.

  • A lesion in the auditory cortex causes “amusia” where a patient can speak and understand everyday sounds, but cannot notice wrong notes in tunes, or remember melodies.
  • Another case, a 71-year-old cellist, had encephalitis and lost ordinary memory, but remembers music. 
  • Patients with a lesion in right temporal can lose pitch perception.
  • Damage to right temporal lobe can distort sound to have negative response to music.
  • Patients with lesion in right temporal can lose pitch perception.

But, recent research shows that when studying infants these differences do not necessarily exist. In infancy there is much more overlap of music and language in the brain.  

What Is Known About Music in the Brain?

Perhaps some generalizations can be made:

Timing – some think timing is organized in the cerebellum (center of motor memory and learning.) Purely auditory perception has been observed in the cerebellum, but a single region does not control it.

Pitch – Different factors of a tune -contour, specific interval size, duration of notes, ratios of tones – are processed in different circuits throughout the brain. The right hemisphere does tonal processing.

Musical imagery is analyzed in regions of the frontal lobe.

Singing is dominant in right temporal lobe, while syntax of speech and music is left dominant.

The motor processes involve pre motor cortex, supplementary motor cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia, but in different amounts for different tasks.

Rhythm, Melody and emotion work in different parts of the brain

There are multiple different streams of neuronal activity for auditory processing pathways – the dorsal and ventral streams are important but especially dorsal with parietal and premotor cortex.

All neural systems – motor, sensory, emotional and analysis – are active in both performers and observersListening, as well as performing, use both motor and sensory systems, since observers trigger the muscles that are being utilized by the performers and dancers they are watching.

Recent studies show that learning absolute pitch, a very measurable skill, occurs only with genetic ability plus training before 12 to 15.[…]

 For more visit site —> Music Training and Neuroplasticity


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[ARTICLE] Home-based neurologic music therapy for arm hemiparesis following stroke: results from a pilot, feasibility randomized controlled trial – Full Text


Continue —> Home-based neurologic music therapy for arm hemiparesis following stroke: results from a pilot, feasibility randomized controlled trialClinical Rehabilitation – Alexander J Street, Wendy L Magee, Andrew Bateman, Michael Parker, Helen Odell-Miller, Jorg Fachner, 2017


Figure 1. Study flow diagram. Data collection occurred at weeks 1, 6, 9, 15 and 18. Cross-over analysis required data from weeks 1, 6, 9 and 15.

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[Abstract] Active music therapy approach for stroke patients in the post-acute rehabilitation


Guidelines in stroke rehabilitation recommend the use of a multidisciplinary approach. Different approaches and techniques with music are used in the stroke rehabilitation to improve motor and cognitive functions but also psychological outcomes. In this randomized controlled pilot trial, relational active music therapy approaches were tested in the post-acute phase of disease. Thirty-eight hospitalized patients with ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke were recruited and allocated in two groups. The experimental group underwent the standard of care (physiotherapy and occupational therapy daily sessions) and relational active music therapy treatments. The control group underwent the standard of care only. Motor functions and psychological aspects were assessed before and after treatments. Music therapy process was also evaluated using a specific rating scale. All groups showed a positive trend in quality of life, functional and disability levels, and gross mobility. The experimental group showed a decrease of anxiety and, in particular, of depression (p = 0.016). In addition, the strength of non-dominant hand (grip) significantly increased in the experimental group (p = 0.041). Music therapy assessment showed a significant improvement over time of non-verbal and sonorous-music relationships. Future studies, including a greater number of patients and follow-up evaluations, are needed to confirm promising results of this study.

Source: Active music therapy approach for stroke patients in the post-acute rehabilitation | SpringerLink

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[ARTICLE] Improvement in Stroke-induced Motor Dysfunction by Music-supported Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


To conduct a meta-analysis of clinical trials that examined the effect of music-supported therapy on stroke-induced motor dysfunction, comprehensive literature searches of PubMed, Embase and the Cochrane Library from their inception to April 2016 were performed. A total of 10 studies (13 analyses, 358 subjects) were included; all had acceptable quality according to PEDro scale score. The baseline differences between the two groups were confirmed to be comparable. Compared with the control group, the standardized mean difference of 9-Hole Peg Test was 0.28 (−0.01, 0.57), 0.64 (0.31, 0.97) in Box and Block Test, 0.47 (0.08, 0.87) in Arm Paresis Score and 0.35 (−0.04, 0.75) in Action Research Arm Test for upper-limb motor function, 0.11 (−0.24, 0.46) in Berg Balance Scale score, 0.09 (−0.36, 0.54) in Fugl-Meyer Assessment score, 0.30 (−0.15, 0.74) in Wolf Motor Function Test, 0.30 (−0.15, 0.74) in Wolf Motor Function time, 0.65 (0.14, 1.16) in Stride length and 0.62 (0.01, 1.24) in Gait Velocity for total motor function, and 1.75 (0.94, 2.56) in Frontal Assessment Battery score for executive function. There was evidence of a positive effect of music-supported therapy, supporting its use for the treatment of stroke-induced motor dysfunction. This study was registered at PRESPERO (CRD42016037106).


Stroke is a multifaceted and complicated condition. Stroke disease is one of the major causes of long-term disability and one of the leading causes of death worldwide1,2. The time frequency and functional source analysis of the signals facilitate the quantification of the functional changes occurring in the brain in association with motor tasks after stroke and the detection of damage to neuro-motor functioning3. The personal burden of being a stroke survivor is often devastating and has major consequences for the patient’s quality of life4. Rehabilitation of upper-limb motor dysfunction and total motor dysfunction have been revealed to improve the quality of life of patients after stroke5 and are safe and effective methods for restoring social and occupational functioning.

Motor dysfunction therapy relies on both pharmacological6 and non-pharmacological treatments7. Currently, pharmacological therapy is essentially symptomatic and does not have a satisfactory impact on symptoms related to the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, several health institutions recommend the development of non-pharmacological complementary interventions as a first-line treatment. For example, intensive motor therapy can improve important motor functions. However, the effectiveness of standard physiotherapeutic approaches in stroke rehabilitation has been found to be limited8. In the human brain, one of the most powerful sources of auditory stimulation is provided by music9. As a result, more attention has been given to the effectiveness of non-pharmacological approaches in dysfunction therapy, including a growing interest in music therapy and music-based stimulation10.

The power of music and its nonverbal nature make it an effective medium of communication when language is diminished or abolished, though the curative effect of music is still uncertain. Music easily elicits movement, stimulating interactions between perception and action systems11. Thus, music-making may be an effective way to induce plastic changes in the motor system. Music-supported therapy is a prospective new series of therapy programs, and comprehensive research suggests that it could be useful because of its promotion of relaxation and of cognitive and motor improvement in post-stroke rehabilitation12. Therefore, music-supported therapy has been developed with the aim of improving motor recovery after stroke. The definition of music-supported therapy is not only hearing the music but also singing and playing rhythm and percussion instruments and is based on four principles: (i) massive repetition and exercising of simple finger and arm movements; (ii) auditory-motor coupling and integration and reinforcement of motor effects due to immediate auditory feedback; (iii) shaping and adapting the training according to individual progress; and (iv) emotion-motivation effects due to the playfulness and emotional impact of music and the acquisition of a new skill13. Music-supported therapy may involve, for example, rhythmic auditory stimulation14, the use of a MusicGlove15 or listening to CDs16. However, the differences between these music-supported techniques have not been comprehensively considered.

Music-supported therapy has been shown to be effective in post-stroke rehabilitation of motor function in some clinical trials14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23. However, little research has focused on the potential therapeutic mechanisms by which music-supported therapy improves the motor functions of post-stroke patients. Although many researchers suggest that improvement induced by music-supported therapy is due to the combined effects of intensive repetitive practice and musical stimulation21, evidence to support these propositions has been unavailable. To explore the isolated effect of music further, we designed a systematic review on the effect of music-supported therapy on the recovery of upper-limb motor function and total motor function after stroke. No previous reviews have provided a comprehensive overview with meta-analyses.

Continue —> Improvement in Stroke-induced Motor Dysfunction by Music-supported Therapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis : Scientific Reports

Figure 1: Flow of studies through the review process for systematic review and meta-analysis.

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[ARTICLE] Home-based hand rehabilitation after chronic stroke: Randomized, controlled single-blind trial comparing the MusicGlove with a conventional exercise program

Abstract — Individuals with chronic stroke have limited options for hand rehabilitation at home. Here, we sought to determine the feasibility and efficacy of home-based MusicGlove therapy. Seventeen participants with moderate hand impairment in the chronic phase of stroke were randomized to 3 wk of home-based exercise with either the MusicGlove or conventional tabletop exercises. The primary outcome measure was the change in the Box and Blocks test score from baseline to 1 mo post treatment. Both groups significantly improved their Box and Blocks test score, but no significant difference was found between groups. The MusicGlove group did exhibit significantly greater improvements than the conventional exercise group in Motor Activity Log Quality of Movement and Amount of Use scores 1 mo posttherapy (p = 0.007 and p = 0.04, respectively). Participants significantly increased their use of MusicGlove over time, completing 466 gripping movements per day on average at study end. MusicGlove therapy was not superior to conventional tabletop exercises for the primary end point but was nevertheless feasible and led to a significantly greater increase in self-reported functional use and quality of movement of the impaired hand than conventional home exercises.



Hand impairment after stroke contributes substantially to disability in the United States and around the world [1]. Intensive movement practice can reduce hand impairment [2–6], but issues such as cost and access may limit the dose of rehabilitation exercise delivered one-on-one with a therapist. Because of these and other factors, most individuals do not perform the large number of exercise repetitions required during therapy to maximize recovery [7–8]. Home-based rehabilitation programs may be prescribed after stroke with the intent to increase the amount of rehabilitation exercise individuals perform. However, the most common approach to home-based hand therapy is following a printed handout of exercises. This approach is often not motivating and thus is associated with low compliance and high dropout rates [9–13].

To address this problem, other types of home-based rehabilitation programs for the hand have been proposed. For example, one pilot study explored a modified form of constraint-induced movement therapy performed under the supervision of a nonprofessional coach in the home and found similar benefits to the same program performed with a trained therapist in a clinic [14]; a larger study using this protocol found that home-based constraint-induced movement therapy led to significantly greater self-reported use of the impaired limb than conventional therapy [15]. Another common approach is telerehabilitation, which allows a therapist to guide therapy remotely [16]. While this approach is gaining popularity, a recent Cochrane systematic review of 10 trials with 933 total participants found limited evidence to support its use and no studies that examined its cost-effectiveness [17]. Other approaches to home-based hand rehabilitation include functional electrical stimulation [18], computer gaming with custom devices [19–21], and music-based therapy [22]. However, despite the variety of options, few home-based programs have been tested in controlled studies [23]. Further, it is still unclear which methods are the most effective and efficient means of providing an increased dose of rehabilitation, though the use of computer games and music has been found to be highly motivating [20,24–26].

We developed the MusicGlove, an instrumented glove with sensors on each of the fingertips and the lateral aspect of the index finger. The MusicGlove requires the user to practice functional gripping movements by touching the sensor on the tip of the thumb to one of the other five sensors in time with music through a video game that displays scrolling notes on a screen (Figure 1). In previous pilot studies performed in a clinical setting, we found that the MusicGlove motivated individuals with chronic stroke to perform hundreds of functional gripping movements during a 30 min training session and that exercise with the device led to a significantly greater improvement in hand grasping ability, measured with the Box and Blocks test, than a time-matched dose of conventional tabletop therapy performed with a rehabilitation therapist [27–28]. The individuals who used the MusicGlove also reported that the exercise was more motivating than conventional therapy and expressed interest in using the device to exercise at home. An important question, therefore, was whether self-guided exercise with the MusicGlove performed at home is feasible and improves hand function compared with conventional home therapy.

Figure 1. MusicGlove device used in study. Users are visually cued by scrolling notes on screen (top) to make specific grips in time with popular songs, similar to the video game Guitar Hero. Grips include (a) key pinch grip; (b) pincer grip; and (c) finger-thumb opposition with second, third, and fourth fingers. During gameplay, the user must complete the cued grip when a colored note passes over the starred strip shown at bottom of the game screen (time window of about 800 ms). If the user is successful, the colored note disappears, providing visual feedback. If the user is unsuccessful, a beep is played, providing auditory feedback.

Figure 1. MusicGlove device used in study. Users are visually cued by scrolling notes on screen (top) to make specific grips in time with popular songs, similar to the video game Guitar Hero. Grips include (a) key pinch grip; (b) pincer grip; and (c) finger-thumb opposition with second, third, and fourth fingers. During gameplay, the user must complete the cued grip when a colored note passes over the starred strip shown at bottom of the game screen (time window of about 800 ms). If the user is successful, the colored note disappears, providing visual feedback. If the user is unsuccessful, a beep is played, providing auditory feedback.

Continue —> Home-based hand rehabilitation after chronic stroke: Randomized, controlled single-blind trial comparing the MusicGlove with a conventional exercise program

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[ARTICLE] Music Upper Limb Therapy—Integrated: An Enriched Collaborative Approach for Stroke Rehabilitation – Full Text 

Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide. It leads to a sudden and overwhelming disruption in one’s physical body, and alters the stroke survivors’ sense of self. Long-term recovery requires that bodily perception, social participation and sense of self are restored; this is challenging to achieve, particularly with a single intervention. However, rhythmic synchronization of movement to external stimuli facilitates sensorimotor coupling for movement recovery, enhances emotional engagement, and has positive effects on interpersonal relationships.

In this proof-of-concept study, we designed a group music-making intervention, Music Upper Limb Therapy-Integrated (MULT-I), to address the physical, psychological and social domains of rehabilitation simultaneously, and investigated its effects on long-term post-stroke upper limb recovery. The study used a mixed-method pre-post design with one-year follow up.

Thirteen subjects completed the 45-minute intervention twice a week for six weeks. The primary outcome was reduced upper limb motor impairment on the Fugl-Meyer Scale. Secondary outcomes included sensory impairment (two-point discrimination test), activity limitation (Modified Rankin scale), well-being (WHO well-being index), and participation (Stroke Impact Scale). Repeated measures ANOVA was used to test for differences between pre- and post-intervention, and one-year follow up scores. Significant improvement was found in upper limb motor impairment, sensory impairment, activity limitation, and well-being immediately post-intervention that persisted at 1 year. Activities of daily living and social participation improved only from post-intervention to one-year follow up. The improvement in upper limb motor impairment was more pronounced in a subset of lower functioning individuals as determined by their pre-intervention wrist range of motion. Qualitatively, subjects reported new feelings of ownership of their impaired limb, more spontaneous movement, and enhanced emotional engagement.

The results suggest that the MULT-I intervention may help stroke survivors re-create their sense of self by integrating sensorimotor, emotional and interoceptive information, and facilitate long-term recovery across multiple domains of disability, even in the chronic stage post-stroke. Randomized controlled trials are warranted to confirm the efficacy of this approach. Clinical Trial Registration: National Institutes of Health,, NCT01586221.

Continue —> Frontiers | Music Upper Limb Therapy—Integrated: An Enriched Collaborative Approach for Stroke Rehabilitation | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

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[Poster] The Efficacy of Playing Musical Instruments for Upper Limb Rehabilitation among Individuals with Stroke: A Systematic Review

To conduct a systematic review on the use of musical instruments as a form of upper limb rehabilitation in individuals post stroke and to assess its effectiveness in improving motor outcomes.

Source: The Efficacy of Playing Musical Instruments for Upper Limb Rehabilitation among Individuals with Stroke: A Systematic Review – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[ARTICLE] Multisensory Stimulation in Stroke Rehabilitation – Full Text

The brain has a large capacity for automatic simultaneous processing and integration of sensory information. Combining information from different sensory modalities facilitates our ability to detect, discriminate, and recognize sensory stimuli, and learning is often optimal in a multisensory environment. Currently used multisensory stimulation methods in stroke rehabilitation include motor imagery, action observation, training with a mirror or in a virtual environment, and various kinds of music therapy. Non-invasive brain stimulation has showed promising preliminary results in aphasia and neglect. Patient heterogeneity and the interaction of age, gender, genes, and environment are discussed. Randomized controlled longitudinal trials starting earlier post-stroke are needed. The advance in brain network science and neuroimaging enabling longitudinal studies of structural and functional networks are likely to have an important impact on patient selection for specific interventions in future stroke rehabilitation. It is proposed that we should pay more attention to age, gender, and laterality in clinical studies.


We live in a multisensory environment and the interaction between our genes and the environment shapes our brains. The brain has a large capacity for automatic simultaneous processing and integration of sensory information, and multisensory influences are integral to primary as well as higher order cortical operations (Ghazanfar and Schroeder, 2006). Combining information from different sensory modalities facilitates our ability to detect, discriminate, and recognize sensory stimuli (Driver and Noesselt, 2008; Shams and Seitz, 2008; Gentile et al., 2011). Non-invasive brain stimulation does not only affect the targeted local regions but also activity in remote interconnected regions. Although repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) cannot directly target subcortical structures, the activity in thalamus can be modulated by stimulation of parietal cortex, an observation that open up new possibilities for studies of cortical–subcortical interactions in multisensory processing (Blankenburg et al., 2008, 2010). Multisensory enhancement of detection sensitivity for low-contrast visual stimuli by sounds reflects a brain network involving not only established multisensory and sensory-specific cortex but also visual and auditory thalamus (Noesselt et al., 2010). Diffusion tensor imaging and tractography have enhanced the opportunity to study white matter tract networks and compare structural and functional connectivity in humans (Ciccarelli et al., 2008). Combining non-invasive brain stimulation with neuroimaging offers an opportunity to study causal relations between specific brain regions and individual cognitive and perceptual functions (Driver and Noesselt, 2008; Driver et al., 2009; Bolognini and Maravita, 2011; Zamora-López et al., 2011). Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques have the advantage that they can be used both as diagnostic tools and in treatment.

Figure 1. Dendritic branching and spines in pyramidal neurons in parietal cortex in rats housed in standard laboratory cages (A) and rats in enriched environment with opportunity for various activities (B), Johansson and Belichenko (2002).

Continue —>  Frontiers | Multisensory Stimulation in Stroke Rehabilitation | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

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[ARTICLE] Music-supported therapy (MST) in improving post-stroke patients’ upper-limb motor function


Objective: Music-supported therapy (MST) is a new approach for motor rehabilitation of stroke patients. Recently, many studies have demonstrated that MST improved the motor functions of post-stroke patients. However, the underlying mechanism for this effect is still unclear. It may result from repeated practice or repeated practice combined with musical stimulation. Currently, few studies have been designed to clarify this discrepancy. In this study, the application of “mute” musical instruments allowed for the study of music as an independent factor.

Methods: Thirty-three post-stroke patients with no substantial previous musical training were included. Participants were assigned to either audible music group (MG) or mute music group (CG), permitting observation of music’s independent effect. All subjects received the conventional rehabilitation treatments. Patients in MG (n = 15) received 20 extra sessions of audible musical instrument training over 4 weeks. Patients in CG (n = 18) received “mute” musical instrument training of the same protocol as that of MG. Wolf motor function test (WMFT) and Fugl—Meyer assessment (FMA) for upper limbs were utilised to evaluate motor functions of patients in both groups before and after the treatment. Three patients in CG dropped out.

Results: All participants in both groups showed significant improvements in motor functions of upper limbs after 4 weeks’ treatment. However, significant differences in the WMFT were found between the two groups (WMFT-quality: P = 0.025; WMFT-time: P = 0.037), but not in the FMA (P = 0.448). In short, all participants showed significant improvement after 4 weeks’ treatment, but subjects in MG demonstrated greater improvement than those in CG.

Discussion: This study supports that MST, when combined with conventional treatment, is effective for the recovery of motor skills in post-stroke patients. Additionally, it suggests that apart from the repetitive practices of MST, music may play a unique role in improving upper-limb motor function for post-stroke patients.

via Music-supported therapy (MST) in improving post-stroke patients’ upper-limb motor function: a randomised controlled pilot study: Neurological Research: Vol 0, No 0.

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[WEB SITE] Music and Stroke Therapy: 4 Questions

We spoke with Kyle and Lindsey Wilhelm about their innovative techniques of helping stroke survivors regain their speech and movement.

How does music therapy help stroke survivors with aphasia?

Music therapists often work in collaboration with speech-language pathologists to address speech and language skills with stroke survivors. Survivors who suffer from aphasia may have difficulty speaking, but during therapy discover that they can sing an entire song fluently.

This is because the part of the brain affected by the stroke that controls expressive language (known as Broca’s area) is localized in one area of the brain while music production (singing and playing instruments) and processing (receptive listening) activates multiple areas of the brain.

By using music, the therapist can work on skills using the non-damaged areas of the brain to help the survivor relearn how to do what the damaged area of the brain used to do.

How does music therapy help stroke survivors with their physical therapy? 

Music therapists also collaborate with physical therapists to help survivors regain functioning of both their upper and lower extremities as well as fine and gross motor skills. For example, the music therapy technique Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) uses a steady, rhythmic pulse to help the survivor with their gait (walking). The survivor will naturally match the strong rhythmic pulse providing the temporal support to regulate individual steps and motivation to keep going.

How often should a stroke survivor meet with a music therapist?

The key to learning or relearning any skill is repetition. A typical frequency is 1-2 times per week, but additional therapy will likely improve physical and motor skills.

The music therapist can show the survivor ways to incorporate music into exercises prescribed by other therapists at home. By making the exercises more enjoyable, the survivor will be more likely to do them regularly, which can positively affect rehabilitation overall.

How to find a music therapist in your local area.

1) Visit the American Music Therapy Association online directory.

2) Ask your speech therapist for a recommendation.


via Music and Stroke Therapy: 4 Questions – StrokeSmart.

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