How singing can help people with Parkinson's disease?

A systematic review of the data, presented by British researchers from the University of Aberdeen, suggests that singing can have a beneficial effect on patients with Parkinson's disease: it can improve the functioning of the speech apparatus. The authors stated the need for further study of this phenomenon. The article was published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease.

Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disease that affects more than 120,000 people in the UK and continues to progress worldwide. Existing medications can improve motor function in patients, but do not affect other symptoms and often have serious side effects. Therefore, some scientists have high hopes for other forms of treatment, in particular, language therapy, which, in their opinion, can be extremely useful for people with neurological diseases. 

So, in many hospitals in recent years increased interest in the performing arts, including singing. Choirs are organized for patients, and all conditions are observed for them, regardless of the degree and causes of the disease.

For the review, the authors analyzed 449 music recordings, 25 scientific articles and seven studies. They studied how singing can affect speech function, motor activity, cognitive ability and the overall quality of life of patients. Experts have concluded that vocals can improve speech performance in patients with Parkinson's disease, but further research is needed to obtain definitive evidence.

According to the authors, singing can promote physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, and group performance helps to establish relationships between patients, to feel needed and less lonely, to share experiences. Hospitals partnering with performing arts organizations may be very beneficial to the health of patients.

Oct. 1, 2019, 10:23 a.m.

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