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Joyful Music in Tune With Heart Health
Date:11/11/2008

Study finds it leads to improved blood flow

TUESDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Throw on a little Bach, Beatles or Beyonce, and then sit back and relax in the knowledge that your blood vessels are expanding wide open, letting the blood flow freely.

Nothing could be healthier for your heart, a new study suggests.

"Listening to music that makes you feel good may also be a good preventive measure for heart health," said study author Dr. Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, in Baltimore. "There's no downside. It's simple, economic and it may pay off dividends in regard to a healthy heart."

Added Dr. Carl Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention director of the Stress Testing Laboratory at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans: "Although this was just an acute [short-term] study, it suggests that laughter and listening to relaxing music may provide cardioprotection or be heart-healthy. I suspect that the authors are correct in this theory. But the important thing to know is whether regular performance of this or similar activity would have long-term benefits on the cardiovascular system, similar to, superior, or additive to such things as regular aerobic exercise that has been extensively studied and proven to have substantial long-term benefits."

Miller, who presented the findings Tuesday at the American Heart Association's annual scientific sessions, in New Orleans, said many people look at heart health in terms of negative risk factors that need to be overcome. "There are not a lot of positive risk factors," he noted.

Previous studies had found that music could affect heart rate and blood pressure. Prayer has also been shown to improve cardiac performance. And Miller's group previously found that laughter improved vascular health.

For the new study, 10 healthy, nonsmoking
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