“Learning an instrument can help stroke recovery,” says study
A small study conducted by experts at the University monitored the spatial awareness of stroke sufferers before and after four sessions with music therapists, along with homework completed twice every day.
Experts found that those recovering from ‘neglect’ – a condition whereby damage to one side of the brain is suffered after a stroke, causing spatial awareness impairment to the opposite side of the body – are most likely to benefit from such treatment.
Two patients involved in the study were given chime bar lessons, with researchers gradually increasing the distance between the bars to encourage the patients to play further into their left side of space.
According to the researchers, both patients showed “significant improvement” in clinical tests for ‘negelect’.
“Despite a good deal of research into rehabilitation approaches, treatment options are limited,” commented Dr Lauren Stewart from the music, mind and brain team based in Goldsmiths’ Department of Psychology.
“Our research shows that playing a musical instrument could be an effective intervention for neglect patients.
“It would be great to invite more patients to participate in future studies, as well as see if the music intervention has the capacity to translate to improvements in everyday tasks.”
The team is now planning to expand the small study into a formal clinical trial.