Serving Stroke Victims
Although music therapy can be helpful when treating behavioral diseases, we are only beginning to find some of its uses. One of the newer uses is to help stroke survivors.
Scientists have recently discovered that music therapy, when used in conjunction with other treatment options, can increase vision that was lost due to a stroke. Scientists "induced a pleasant and positive affective response in patients with chronic visual neglect by allowing them to listen to their pleasant preferred music. We report that the patients showed enhanced visual awareness when tasks were performed under preferred music conditions relative to when tasks were performed either with unpreferred music or in silence. These results were also replicated when positive affect was induced before neglect was tested" (Soto, and others). In one part of the study, patients were asked to push a button when they could see a red light. when listening to music he liked, one patient could point out the light 65 percent of the time. However, the same patient could only recognize the light 15 percent of the time when listening to music he disliked or no music at all. The improvement in vision could have been caused by positive emotions caused by the music the patient liked, possibly resulting in more efficient signaling within the brain (Imperial). This could then have increased the ability of the brain to process the light within the patient's field of vision. Because of this discovery, scientists are now working to determine how much music therapy can help patients who have suffered from a stroke and if other sounds can also be beneficial as treatment options.