Listening to music improves stroke patients’ recovery


London : Music helps stroke patients improve their memory and attention spans, besides aiding recovery, a new study has found.

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Patients listening up to two hours of music daily also had a more positive outlook than those who did not, the study by researchers at the Helsinki Brain Research Centre found.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Brain Today.

The researchers focussed on patients who had suffered a stroke in the left or right brain hemisphere. He and his colleagues worked on 60 stroke patients for a two-year period from March 2004, after their hospitalisation.

Most of them, beset with movement, attention and memory problems, were randomly assigned to music, language and control groups.

Over the next two months, these groups listened daily to pop, classical, jazz or folk music or audio books. The control group received no listening material. All of them underwent routine rehabilitation.

The researchers found that three months post-stroke, verbal memory improved from the first week by 60 percent in music listeners, by 18 percent in audio book listeners and by 29 percent in non-listeners.

Similarly, the ability to perform mental operations improved by 17 percent, but the condition of audio book listeners and non-listeners remained unchanged.

These differences were unchanged even six months later. Music listeners were less depressed or confused than their control group counterparts, the researchers said.