Friday, May 6, 2011
Music therapy treats diseases and conditions from Parkinson's to autism
Listen up: belting out tunes in the shower may not only be music to your ears, but may also treat a variety of disorders such as Parkinson's disease, aphasia and dementia.
In fact, singing has both physical and neurological benefits, according to a CNN article in which Dr. Wendy Magee, International Fellow in Music Therapy at the Institute of Neuropalliative Rehabilitation in London, described music as a "mega-vitamin for the brain" that can improve a host of conditions.
"When neural pathways are damaged for one particular function such as language, musical neural pathways are actually much more complex and much more widespread within the brain," she told CNN. "Music seems to find re-routed paths and that is why it is such a useful tool in terms of helping people with different kinds of brain damage because it can help to find new pathways in terms of brain functioning."
Music is effective in treating not just certain medical disorders but also autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), says Dr. Robert Melillo, co-founder of the Brain Balance Achievement Centers and the author of "Disconnected Kids" (Penguin, 2009).