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C Nombela, C L Rae, J A Grahn, R A Barker, A M Owen, and J B Rowe (2013)

How often does music and rhythm improve patients’ perception of motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease?

Journal of Neurology, 260:1404-1405.

There is a strong interest in combining pharmacological treatments with non-drug therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD). One such non-pharmacological therapy is music and rhythm stimulation, with anecdotal benefits and favorable preliminary clinical studies. It is suggested that the rhythmic properties of music reduce certain motor features of PD [1], perhaps by entraining the brain mechanisms that control timing, sequencing and coordination of movements [2]. Early investigations into the effect of auditory rhythms on movement and PD were promising [3], and their benefits and possible modes of action confirmed by recent neuroimaging studies [4]. However, we noticed an apparent discrepancy between the evolving literature on music, rhythm and PD, and the frequency of spontaneously reported benefits of music from patients in the clinic. We therefore asked: how commonly do patients themselves perceive an improvement in their motor symptoms with music and rhythm?

parkinson's disease, perception, music, motor