Rehabilitating The Brain By Playing A Musical Instrument.

In Brain Science, Memory and Learning, Senses and Perception, Stroke by Brainy Days Ahead

Rehabilitating stroke victims whose motor movements are impaired attracted some creative research by neuroscientists at Toronto-based Baycrest Rotman Research Institute and Stanford University.  Researchers asked young adults to listen to sounds from an unfamiliar musical instrument (a Tibetan singing bowl). Half of the subjects (the experimental group) recreated the sounds and rhythm by striking the bowl (rather than pressing a computer key in the control group) and showed immediately increased auditory brain waves and brain beta-wave oscillation, and enhanced connectivity between auditory and sensorimotor areas in the brain. The brain changes were measured using magnetoencephalographic (MEG) recording, which uses highly sensitive magnetic sensors. The researchers believe these results provide a basis for using music making to help stroke survivors recover motor movement in their upper bodies. The direct effect in the brain after just one session creating a musical sound strongly indicated a meaningful change in brain activity.