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You are here: McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind > Publications > Into the groove: Can rhythm influence Parkinson’s disease?

Cristina Nombela, Laura E Hughes, Adrian M Owen, and Jessica A Grahn (2013)

Into the groove: Can rhythm influence Parkinson’s disease?

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37:2564-2570.

Previous research has noted that music can improve gait in several pathological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and stroke. Current research into auditory-motor interactions and the neural bases of musical rhythm perception has provided important insights for developing potential movement therapies. Specifically, neuroimaging studies show that rhythm perception activates structures within key motor networks, such as premotor and supplementary motor areas, basal ganglia and the cerebellum – many of which are compromised to varying degrees in Parkinson’s disease. It thus seems likely that automatic engagement of motor areas during rhythm perception may be the connecting link between music and motor improvements in Parkinson’s disease. This review seeks to describe the link, address core questions about its underlying mechanisms, and examine whether it can be utilized as a compensatory mechanism.

parkinson's disease, music, rhythm, entrainment