May 21st, 2009
Music and Medicine
Music Therapy for Neurological Conditions

Concetta Tomaino, a pioneer in the field of music therapy, explains the exciting things we can learn about human cognition and music and how this can be applied to treat certain neurological disorders.

Concetta Tomaino, D.A., MT-BC, LCAT: One of the reasons, and one of the exciting reasons, why music therapy has so much promise for people with neurological conditions is that music accesses the networks in the brain in a complementary faction (fashion) or differently than the function that a person has lost. And what I mean by that is we can stimulate the timing mechanisms, we can stimulate word finding ability, we can stimulate recognition memory, even short-term memory function through using music in a specific way that makes available to these patients function in the brain that’s still there but maybe they can’t get at independently because of the inhibition that has taken place due to their brain injury.

So music is an enriched sensory stimulus that allows for, I believe, the disinhibition of some of the inhibited function that has been lost in these individuals. And by stimulating these complementary or parallel networks, we see this type of ability come back.

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