Harvard University’s Institute for Music and Brain Science has received funding from the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation for their efforts towards the positive effects of music on patients suffering with Parkinson’s disease. The institute studies the effects that music has on the brain in a number of illnesses.
Researchers at the Harvard University institute found that music can improve motor coordination in patients who are at various stages of the debilitating disease.
Patients who were showing mild to severe symptoms underwent clinical trials and rapid alternating movements, visuomotor integration and gait were studied in each of the patients. Ambient music was played with a range of 128 to 192 beats per second and its effects on the patients were measured in milliseconds.
In about 40 percent of the patients, visuomotor skills were monitored as being faster when the music was being played. Up to 83 percent had faster results in the RAM tests and 25 percent showed faster and longer strides in the gait tests.
Epstein said; “The results are remarkable. More studies need to be done to show that music improves motor coordination. However, these studies highlight how areas in the auditory cortex are affected, providing a road map for how to duplicate the stimulus and enhance it.”
This isn’t the first time the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation has funded a program at Harvard University. In 2003 the foundation helped the school develop the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, which looks at the mathematics behind evolutionary biology, by giving them a $30 million grant.
Parkinson’s disease gradually eats away at certain functions of the brain, causing the patient to lose motor skills. This new treatment is described as being similar to when you hear music and subconsciously tap your foot without realising. Music has the same subconscious effect on Parkinson’s patients, but sometimes more profound.