Music can help those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
As part of the Adeje Summer University, Professor Julián González González is running a three day course on the study of music neurophysiology, and how it affects the brain, etc. He talked students through the recognition of sound to how it then provokes certain reactions, sensations, recognised by the brain, associations with certain emotions and different cognitive processes. In the is regard it is now believed music will have therapeutic benefits for certain ailments, “there are advanced investigations which show music is producing improvements in those suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s”, he stated.
The course director explained that music therapy does have a solid scientific base and all results of related testing are subject to proper scientific criteria. Today, in the USA and the UK more than anywhere else, certain hospitals now have special units dedicated to this kind of therapeutic investigation.
“Scientifically this shows that for certain conditions, ailments, music can help, but this is still a relatively new branch. We need to study more to see what kind of emotions different music provokes, and, within cognitive phenomena, which grade of mental dysfunction may be affected”.
The course isn’t just looking at music therapy, but also, on a wider scale, explaining the music process from a neurophysiological and biophysical base, music pedagogy and music in the animal world. Regarding music pedagogy, González says that music teaching in primary and secondary education is relevant “because music and musical training helps cognitive skills develop and would appear to improve certain aspects of our humanity”. And in the animal world, the investigation is looking at the impact sound and music may have and their importance in the animal kingdom, from bird song to the use of sonar by bats. “The spectrum of sound in the animal world is huge”, he remarked.
The influence of our culture would explain why human beings are more receptive to musical tones, as they and we have evolved over the centuries. Music with different tonal structures produces different effects and emotions, but says González, the study of those effects has still a long way to go.