Research Reports - Music-based cognitive therapy for patients with traumatic brain injury

Front Neurol. 2014 Mar 24;5:34

Hegde S

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the common causes of disability in
physical, psychological, and social domains of functioning leading to poor
quality of life. TBI leads to impairment in sensory, motor, language, and
emotional processing, and also in cognitive functions such as attention,
information processing, executive functions, and memory. Cognitive impairment
plays a central role in functional recovery in TBI. Innovative methods such as
music therapy to alleviate cognitive impairments have been investigated recently.
The role of music in cognitive rehabilitation is evolving, based on newer
findings emerging from the fields of neuromusicology and music cognition.
Research findings from these fields have contributed significantly to our
understanding of music perception and cognition, and its neural underpinnings.
From a neuroscientific perspective, indulging in music is considered as one of
the best cognitive exercises. With "plasticity" as its veritable nature, brain
engages in producing music indulging an array of cognitive functions and the
product, the music, in turn permits restoration and alters brain functions. With
scientific findings as its basis, "neurologic music therapy" (NMT) has been
developed as a systematic treatment method to improve sensorimotor, language, and
cognitive domains of functioning via music. A preliminary study examining the
effect of NMT in cognitive rehabilitation has reported promising results in
improving executive functions along with improvement in emotional adjustment and
decreasing depression and anxiety following TBI. The potential usage of
music-based cognitive rehabilitation therapy in various clinical conditions
including TBI is yet to be fully explored. There is a need for systematic
research studies to bridge the gap between increasing theoretical understanding
of usage of music in cognitive rehabilitation and application of the same in a
heterogeneous condition such as TBI.

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