Music therapy could help improve brain function

Published: December 31, 2021 7:16 PM EST
Updated: December 31, 2021 7:22 PM EST

Scientists are currently looking into the feasibility of treating “brain fog” with music. It could be as easy as downloading an app onto your phone.

Music has been used as medicine for years, often to treat anxiety. But, what if patients could use music to improve their brain function and cognition on their own.

Dr. Soma Sengupta is a neuro-oncologist at the University of Cincinnati. “I wanted an app that could allow patients to express their music, musical ability,” said Dr. Sengupta.

Scientists at the University of Cincinnati were bale to develop ARMCAN, active receptive music for cancer patients. These researchers designed the app to be used in one of two ways.

The first way is to stream music to enjoy the music they already love. The second way is by allowing patients to take a more active role by creating their own music.

“So, in other words, to have musical turns where you could overlay genres and create your music track,” Dr. Sengupta said.

Patients are assigned to a group that either listens to or creates music. Then, they do their assigned activity for 15 minutes per day.

Dr. Sengupta believes the repetition and the music are helping. “So, these technologies are sort of in a way helping the rewiring and exercising areas of the brain that normally wouldn’t do it.”

Researchers have begun randomized trials with breast cancer survivors who are experiencing brain fog. The team plans to evaluate patients using surveys and MRI scans at six, 12 and 18 months. They hope to be able to observe any changes in the brain during music therapy.