Sing and danceBMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3562 (Published 08 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3562
All rapid responses
Dr Spence's quote 'medicine is often blind to the obvious, in the
thrall of the utterly plausible, peddling the utterly implausible..' is
partially correct, at least with reference to music. Personally, I would
swap 'medicine' for 'the NHS'. Medical research has provided hundreds of
good quality publications describing the benefits of music to the body,
mind and spirit.
Most clinicians are aware of the positive effects of music on
patients with mental health disorders, particularly schizophrenia (1).
However, recent publications show novel benefits of music; from enhancing
recovery following cerebrovascular accidents (2), to distracting patients
with COPD from their dyspnoeic symptoms and encouraging exercise (3). It
has also been particularly well described in Palliative medicine for pain,
agitation, disruptive behavior, communication, depression and quality of
life (4). Furthermore, a fascinating article recently published in PLoS
One showed that our visual perception of the world may be manipulated by
In view of this increasing evidence, maybe the government should buy
us all an iPod and a ?5 iTunes voucher?
1. Talwar N, Crawford MJ, Maratos A, Nur U, Mcdermott O, Procter S.
Music therapy for in-patients with schizophrenia: Exploratory randomised
controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2006;189:405-409
2. Sarkamo T, Tervaniemi M, Laitinen S, Forsblom A, Soinila S,
Mikkonen M, Autti T, Silvennoinen HM, Erkkil J, Laine M, Peretz I,
Hietanen M. Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after
middle cerebral artery stroke. Brain. 2008;131:866-876
3. von Leupoldt A, Taube K, Schubert-Heukeshoven S, Magnussen H,
Dahme B. Distractive auditory stimuli reduce the unpleasantness of dyspnea
during exercise in patients with COPD. Chest. 2007;132:1506-1512
4. Gallagher L. The Role of Music Therapy in Palliative Medicine and
Supportive Care. Seminars in Oncology. 2011;38:403-406
5. Jolij J, Meurs M. Music alters visual perception. PLoS One.
Competing interests: No competing interests