Health > How does Music Affect the Brain of Parkinson’s Disease Patients?
26th Jul 2022

How does Music Affect the Brain of Parkinson’s Disease Patients?

Music can be therapeutic and bring joy to people of all ages, including those with Parkinson’s disease. Music therapy has shown to have neuroprotective effects on the brain and reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, improving patients’ quality of life. This article discusses how music affects the brain of people with Parkinson’s disease and the benefits it can provide in reducing their symptoms and improving their overall health.


What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological condition of the central nervous system that slows down movement, often including tremors. The actual evidence is still inconclusive, but PD is thought to be a mixture of genes and environmental influences. Symptoms usually occur steadily and continue to progress. Shaking, lateral stiffness, slowness of motion, and complexity with stability are some symptoms. Parkinson’s disease has no remedy. However, some treatments can help deal with the symptoms. Several researchers believe song and music therapy has therapeutic potential and can help individuals with Parkinson’s disease because it is way more likely to produce dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine levels are frequently reduced in Parkinson’s patients because their neurons are no longer making sufficient dopamine, or their synapses are becoming less delicate. Enhanced dopamine relieves anxiety and decreases stress, which explains its impacts on Parkinson’s disease patients.

Duke University neuroscientists discovered that listening to music causes changes in brain interconnections between motor-related regions that control physical movements and sensory-related areas that handle sound. Motor-related parts were more involved when subjects started listening to quicker music. In contrast, sensory-related regions were much more active when individuals started listening to slower music.


Why do songs help patients with Parkinson’s disease?

Listening to music and songs has benefits to physical health and mental wellbeing. It has existed in various forms since at least the 18th century. Still, it became more well-known in the 20th century when hospitals in the United States began collaborating with performers to support veterans who had returned from World Wars I and II suffering from PTSD symptoms. Music therapy is now widely used to treat anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders, in addition to PTSD.

When people with Parkinson’s disease sing and dance to a tune, their moves become more controlled, temporarily. The most intriguing aspect is that the revived control of balance does not end when the song ends. It will last for a few days after the dance workshop, and part of routine therapy appears to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease symptoms in the long term.

According to research, music therapy can help people with Parkinson’s disease in a range of methods:

  • It can strengthen mood and decrease stress.
  • It may aid in the improvement of brain performance.
  • It can aid in the improvement of motor activity.
  • It can aid in the development of effective communication.
  • It can aid in reducing stress and anxiety.
  • It can boost one’s life quality.
  • It can offer a diversion from the disease’s diagnosis.
  • It may aid in increased life expectancy.
  • It could be used to provide time and improve strength as a form of physical therapy by improving respiration, cardiac output, etc.
  • It is used in occupational therapy to preserve skill and cooperation while exercising fine motor control such as cutlery or hygiene practices.
  • Music can help people with Parkinson’s disease communicate more effectively by enhancing speech perception while they sing along and hear; it also improves their words and grammar once they read lyrics.
  • Finally, music can improve a person’s self-esteem by lowering the sense of loneliness and progressive brain changes.


Which other ways could people remain interested and participate?

Although there is no remedy for the condition, Parkinson’s disease medications can help with symptom control. Keeping interested and participating is one way of helping deal with the symptoms. It can be accomplished by participating in self-directed activities, playing musical instruments, or singing. Art education, such as painting or sculpting, is another enjoyable way to remain interested and participate. It is critical to do what you relish because it will make the day more pleasurable.When painting, for instance, you may discover yourself pondering on everything from the climate to elections. The painting was shown to boost mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and boost well-being. Colour is necessary everywhere, even though it’s just painted on a canvas!

Furthermore, music therapy benefits people who have Parkinson’s disease. Music therapy entails trying to make and play music, which benefits many aspects of people, including learning and memory, emotional regulation, and quality of sleep.


How does music influence our brain?

Music has a powerful impact on our emotional responses and mood. It can make us pleased, sorrowful, or agitated. Music also can help people with Parkinson’s disease enhance their signs. Participants in one study reported fewer tremors, solidity, and freezing episodes when listening to slow-tempo melody rather than remaining silent. Some other studies discovered that patients with Parkinson’s disease who participated in an eight-week music education class improved their motor control and self-esteem, depressed mood, anxiety, mental stress, life quality, and brain ability. Based on anecdotal evidence, numerous Parkinson’s patients report feeling better because music allows them to move extra smoothly.


What are the effects of Parkinson’s disease on the brain?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects the brain’s ability to control things. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the degeneration or absence of dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra part of the brain. Dopamine neurotransmitter is a chemical that aids in motion control. As dopamine levels fall, more symptoms emerge, and they get worse over time. Treatment options aim to relieve these symptoms, but it does not slow or stop the disease’s advancement. Music therapy is seen to address some problems of PD; however, more research is required before music therapy can be considered an efficient therapy.


Music has a variety of therapeutic impacts on individuals with Parkinson’s disease

According to studies, music has various therapeutic impacts on individuals struggling with Parkinson’s disease. Music, for instance, could enhance emotions, relieve stress, and relieve anxiety. Furthermore, songs were shown to improve brain function and motor control in Parkinson’s disease patients.

Music has become an efficient approach in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Music serves to strengthen the quality of sleep, speed recovery, and increase alertness. Furthermore, music treatment is an effective technique for pain reduction in people with Parkinson’s disease. As Parkinson’s condition worsens, music therapy could become one of the few opportunities for PD patients to voice themselves and communicate their opinions with others. There are numerous advantages to using tunes as a treatment modality for people who have Parkinson’s disease. Undoubtedly, it appears likely that future studies will expose extra benefits.


Several forms of music education exist:

  • Listening to music is a broad term for a diagnosis involving creating, trying to sing, relocating to, and listening to the music to bolster and transmit skills to other areas of life. Music therapy may be beneficial to those who have Parkinson’s disease. One method is rhythmic hearing cueing, which uses rhythm to safely transport and enhance gait. People with Parkinson’s disease commonly report that moving or strolling to a rhythm improves their motion, and PD rehabilitation specialists frequently use the groove to help other people with PD. Music is an excellent way that can provide tempo.
  • Dance – Various types of dance, such as tango, ballroom, and even Irish move dancing, have been studied in people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Exercise – Dance could be a source of aerobic activity and a fun way of increasing one’s fitness level.


Practising coordination and balance:

  • Both independent singing and choir involvement have been researched for people with Parkinson’s disease. Singing assists with Parkinson’s disease by increasing voice sound level and performance – Parkinson’s disease can end up causing hypophonia, low voice volume, and repetitive speech. Singing as treatment can help to alleviate such symptoms.
  • Improving breathing and ingesting – Some research has found that singing can strengthen the muscles responsible for consuming food and for respiration.


Each of these activities may have added benefits, such as:

  • Providing opportunities for social interaction – Participating in dance or song with others allows for socialisation and cooperation.
  • Improving emotions and cognitive performance – Some research suggests that music-based treatments can improve mental health, learning, and memory.


How can music help those who have Parkinson’s disease?

1. Experience the Sound waves

According to the APA, music is deeply embedded in vibration, which is why a category of music therapy known as vibroacoustic therapy is so helpful to people with Parkinson’s disease. The beat is audible and palpable. According to studies, it may result in less body rigidity, fewer tremors, and longer steady progress.


2. Go to music events

Even something as enjoyable as attending a concert could be used for therapy. Plan some gigs and realise the rewards of music. Several national parks and galleries host free concerts during the summer months. You can obtain a calendar of events from your tourist information board.


3. Locate a Community

Music groups can not only help you to find your groove, but they can also make you feel less secluded and less anxious.


4. Start Singing

One eight-week study of 27 people with Parkinson’s disease who participated in group singing workshops once or twice a week saw substantial improvements in pitch length, vocal sound intensity, and swallow control. Because the illness is dysfunctional, having taken vocal lessons or singing regularly is known to help slow its advancement.

Numerous singing associations greet singers of all stages. If you don’t want to share your musical skills or lack thereof with the rest of the globe, singing when doing the dishes or taking a coaching session will suffice!


5. Create a Timetable

When implementing any treatment into your life, it is essential to make it a regular part of life, at least weekly, preferably more frequently. Fortunately, music therapy is among the most enjoyable treatment options, so scheduling it should consider giving you anything to look forward to.

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Finally, music significantly impacts the brains of seniors who have Parkinson’s disease. It could relieve pain, increase positivity, and improve brain functions. While more study is necessary to understand the effect of music on Parkinson’s entirely, it is no wonder music can be an effective tool for managing the situation.



How does music support Parkinson’s patients?

Music therapy helps Parkinson’s patients in:

  • Improving voice, volume, and performance – Parkinson’s disease (PD) could end up causing hypophonia (low voice volume) and monotonous monologue. Music & singing as treatment can help to alleviate these illnesses.
  • Improving breathing and ingesting – According to some research, singing can increase muscle strength held to account for gulping and respiration.


Is music beneficial for Parkinson’s disease?

A review and meta of studies on music and PD with a total sample of 598 people involved indicated that music therapy is a practical treatment approach for improving motor control, stability, gait freezing, walking ability, and psychological health.


What effect does audible musical sensation have on the brain?

RAS (Rhythmic-auditory stimulation) affects neural activity by inducing gestures and rhythm synchronisation via sensory input. Increasing the quality of strolling abilities requires immediate sensory reaction, and audible activation variations can enhance gait quality.