Seems music therapy is getting more attention these days. I wonder if Sacks’ latest book, Musicophilia, has anything to do with the press.
SciAm recently reported that depressed patients feel happier after listening to Beethoven.
Similarly, the NYT published a recent article about Claudius Conrad, an MD PhD surgeon at Harvard who’s investigating the biochemical nature of the Mozart-induced. Jonah Lehrer (The Frontal Cortex) comments.
The study itself was fairly simple. The researchers fitted 10 postsurgical intensive-care patients with headphones, and in the hour just after the patients’ sedation was lifted, 5 were treated to gentle Mozart piano music while 5 heard nothing.
The patients listening to music showed several responses that Dr. Conrad expected, based on other studies: reduced blood pressure and heart rate, less need for pain medication and a 20 percent drop in two important stress hormones, epinephrine and interleukin-6, or IL-6. Amid these expected responses was the study’s new finding: a 50 percent jump in pituitary growth hormone.
Interesting stuff, though, Dr. Conrad seems a little full of himself:
Thus, future studies are necessary to investigate how this beneficial effect of music can be further integrated clinically, both for patient and for physician.[13,14]
That’s my opinion. I am Dr. Claudius Conrad, Senior Surgical Resident, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital.