Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Healing and sedative effects of music.

An article by David Dobbs describes the work of musician/surgeon Claudius Conrad, who suggests that music may exert healing and sedative effects partly through a paradoxical stimulation of a growth hormone generally associated with stress rather than healing. His study, published in Critical Care Medicine:
...was fairly simple. The researchers fitted 10 postsurgical intensive-care patients with headphones, and in the hour just after the patients’ sedation was lifted, 5 were treated to gentle Mozart piano music while 5 heard nothing...The patients listening to music showed several responses that Dr. Conrad expected, based on other studies: reduced blood pressure and heart rate, less need for pain medication and a 20 percent drop in two important stress hormones, epinephrine and interleukin-6, or IL-6. Amid these expected responses was the study’s new finding: a 50 percent jump in pituitary growth hormone...The question is whether the jump in growth hormone actually drives the sedative effect or is part of something else going on.

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