Articles for June 2013

Music Therapy Could Ease Anxiety In Patients With Respiratory Failure, Study Finds

For critically ill patients who need ventilator support, listening to some favorite tunes could help quell anxiety levels, according to a new study.

Researchers from Ohio State University found that patients who were on acute ventilatory support because of respiratory failure had decreased anxiety when they listened to their favorite music, compared with usual care. They also required less intense and less frequent sedation when they were listening to the music.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, included 373 people from 12 intensive care units in Minnesota, who all had respiratory failure and needed to be put on ventilatory support. They spent an average of 5.7 days being part of the study.

Researchers had 126 of the participants listen to music whenever they wanted as they were getting the ventilatory support, with the help of a music therapist. Another 122 of them were able to use noise-canceling headphones whenever they wanted but not music, and the other 125 just got the usual care.

They found that those who listened to the music had lower anxiety levels than those who received the typical care. They also found that those who used the noise-canceling headphones had lower anxiety levels. However, the patients who listened to music required less frequent sedatives than those who used the noise-canceling headphones.

“Reducing anxiety and amount of sedation in mechanically ventilated patients is of the utmost importance, particularly because the result may be a decrease in the post-ICU burden, which weighs heavily on many patients, as well as numerous complications related to sedation,” wrote researchers from the Universite Paris-Diderot, who did not conduct the study, in an accompanying editorial in JAMA. “The trial by Chlan et al provides preliminary data that create new possibilities for improving the well-being of ICU patients.”

This is hardly the first time music therapy has been shown to be a powerful tool in decreasing anxiety. Health magazine reported on a 2011 study from Drexel University researchers, showing that listening to music, playing an instrument or singing could help decrease anxiety and pain and boost mood in cancer patients. And a study published earlier this year in the journal Psychology of Music showed that choir singing could help decrease anxiety levels, too.

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Music Therapy Saves Money

A multi-state, 2 year study in the US published in the Journal Arts & Heath monitored medication usage of two groups: one group that resided in long term care and one group that resided in long term care AND participated in a regular group music program 3 times per week.

The participants in the music program reported a higher overall rating of physical health, fewer doctors visits, less medication used, and fewer instances of falls compared to the control group.

The author of the study suggests that if all persons who fall under what is classified as Medicare D (national health coverage for those aged 65 and older in the US) participated in the music program with similar results as in the study, the savings would equal $6.3 BILLION DOLLARS!

(Thanks JB Music Therapy for finding this one)

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Music Therapists Do More Than Sing

“Any place a social worker might work, it may be possible to find a music therapist there.”

by @andybotpgh

Michelle Montgomery Muth demonstrates a music-therapy drumming exercise, with an assist from the photographer's nephew, Sebastian Mull.Photo by Heather MullMichelle Montgomery Muth demonstrates a music-therapy drumming exercise, with an assist from the photographer’s nephew, Sebastian Mull.

Michelle Montgomery Muth took the long way from her hometown of St. Paul, Minn., to Pittsburgh. The Center Township resident went to college in Boston and got a degree in piano — then took several marketing jobs in Boston and Seattle, while performing on the side. But it was only after moving to Pittsburgh that she settled into what she’d come to find was her calling: music therapy.

“What I really loved was music, and working with children. So I went back to school at Slippery Rock,” one of three nearby universities that offer programs in music therapy. (Seton Hill, in Greensburg, and Duquesne University are the other two.) “Sometimes it takes us a while to find what our place is, but I found my place.”

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Music Therapy and the Military

It was very fitting that between Veterans’ Day, when we recognize our veterans and all they have done for our country, and Thanksgiving, when we show our gratitude for so many and for so much, the creation of a music therapy program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) was announced. What an appropriate way to honor and provide assistance to those who serve our country!

This expansion of the landmark partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Department of Defense was discussed at a recent media teleconference. NEA chair Rocco Landesman mentioned that Walter Reed is the first “point of care in the U.S. for the wounded, ill and injured from global conflicts” and that many troops are now returning with traumatic brain injury and psychological health issues, “complex diagnoses that call for a new level of care.”

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American Idol & Music Therapy

Kree Harrison, a finalist on American Idol visits a Los Angeles hospital and learns about music therapy.

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