Navigation Links
Tune Up Your Health

Scientists zero in on why listening to music seems so beneficial,,

FRIDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The litany of suspected benefits is long: It can soothe infants and adults alike, trigger memories, temper pain, aid sleep and make the heart beat faster or slower. "It," of course, is music.

A growing body of research has been making such suggestions for years. Just why music seems to have these effects, though, remains elusive.

There's a lot to learn, said Robert Zatorre, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, where he studies the topic at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Music has been shown to help with such things as pain and memory, he said, but "we don't know for sure that it does improve our [overall] health."

And though there are some indications that music can affect both the body and the mind, "whether it translates to health benefits is still being studied," Zatorre said.

In one study, Zatorre and his colleagues found that people who rated music they listened to as pleasurable were more likely to report emotional arousal than those who didn't like the music they were listening to. Those findings were published in October in PLoS One.

From the scientists' standpoint, he explained, "it's one thing if people say, 'When I listen to this music, I love it.' But it doesn't tell what's happening with their body." Researchers need to prove that music not only has an effect, but that the effect translates to health benefits long-term, he said.

One question to be answered is whether emotions that are stirred up by music really affect people physiologically, said Dr. Michael Miller, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

For instance, Miller said he's found that listening to self-selected joyful music can improve blood flow and perhaps promote vascular health. So, if it calms someone and improves their blood flow, will that translate to fewer heart attacks? "That's yet to be studied," he said.

But in a paper published in the November issue of Medical Hypotheses, Miller suggested the way by which emotions -- such as those triggered when listening to a favorite tune -- might influence the heart.

"Endorphins or endorphin-like compounds are released from the brain in response to pleasurable emotions," he said. "That directly activates the endorphins to release nitric oxide. It's a protective chemical, one of the important chemicals produced by the endothelium [the inner lining of the blood vessels]. It's important in biological and physiological functions -- it causes blood vessels to dilate, it reduces inflammation, it prevents platelets from sticking and cholesterol from being taken up into plaque."

But that might be just part of the story, Miller said. "There are likely to be other effects that have been largely unexplored," he said.

Stress reduction that results from listening to good music might also explain the health benefits, said Aniruddh Patel, a senior fellow at the Neuroscience Institute in San Diego. "Music is known to reduce people's stress and actually have physiological effects on the stress hormone cortisol," he said.

In a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, music was reported to help people who'd had a stroke recover their sight, and Patel said that makes sense.

"The brain is trying to heal itself," he said. "The less stress hormone floating around up there, the better the brain can do its job." That's possibly why it worked, he said.

And as studies continue to find additional benefits from music, scientists continue to investigate the underpinnings.

"We have a trickle of information now about how it works," Patel said. "I think this is a growing area. That trickle is going to become a stream, and that stream is going to become a river."

Until then, Miller's advice is to listen to music you like for 15 to 20 minutes a day -- and to consider it as healthful a practice as exercising regularly and eating healthily.

More information

The American Music Therapy Association has more about music as therapy.

SOURCES: Michael Miller, M.D., professor, medicine, and director, Center for Preventive Cardiology, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore; Robert Zatorre, Ph.D., Montreal Neurological Institute, and professor, department of neurology and neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal; Aniruddh Patel, Ph.D., Esther J. Burnham senior fellow, Neurosciences Institute, San Diego; March 23, 2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; Oct. 16, 2009, PLoS One online; November 2009, Medical Hypotheses

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Mental Health Advocates and Community Providers Support Allentown State Hospital Closing
2. Health Professionals Petition FTC For Relief From Red Flags Rule
3. Fake Drugs Bought on the Web Pose Big Health Risks
4. The Meadows Health Care Center Receives the Award of Excellence from the Ohio Academy of Nursing Homes
5. Win Over Their Heart in More Ways than One this Valentine's Day with a Romantic, Heart-Healthy Meal
6. Statement from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Mississippi Bill that Seeks to Make Cold, Allergy Medicines Containing Pseudoephedrine Prescription-Only
7. Grubb & Ellis Healthcare REIT II Enters Agreement to Acquire Highlands Ranch Medical Pavilion Near Denver
8. St. John Health System Brighton Hospital Signs Letter of Intent to Assist Saudi Arabia in Developing New Addiction Treatment Hospital in Riyadh
9. Congressional leaders urged to reach agreement on health reform
10. Catholic Health Association Comments on State of the Union and Need for Health Care Reform
11. Early Factors Predict Later-Life Stroke Risk, from the Harvard Health Letter
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful ... Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the ... can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived ... eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the ... Care. For the full issue, click here . , For the American Society ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan ... require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... First ... United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell ... facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 ... The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to ... operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... HOUSTON , June 23, 2016  MedSource ... platform as its e-clinical software solution of choice.  ... the best possible value to their clients by ... nowEDC.  The preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the ... pricing for MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Any dentist who has made an ... current process. Many of them do not even offer this ... and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able ... such a high cost that the majority of today,s patients ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... a startling report released today, National Safety Council research ... proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription Nation ... tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, assigned a ... , New Mexico , Tennessee ... failing states, three – Michigan , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: