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Singing May Provide People with Parkinson's Disease a Medley of Benefits.

Singing has long been a helpful therapy for people with Parkinson's disease, as it can help counteract swallowing problems, respiratory difficulties, and a diminished speaking voice--all common effects of this progressive neurological condition. But recent research suggests that belting out a few melodies may provide other benefits, too. A pilot study out of Iowa State University and presented at the Society for Neuroscience 2018 conference suggests that singing may also help improve motor control, boost mood, and even reduce certain indicators of stress. Before and after hour-long singing group sessions, patients with Parkinson's disease answered questionnaires about their mood and had their blood pressure, respiratory rate, and Cortisol levels checked. Cortisol is a hormone whose release is associated with the stress response. Higher levels suggest higher levels of stress. Blood pressure, respiratory rate, and Cortisol levels were lower after singing, although the differences were not dramatic. Participants did report lower levels of sadness and anxiety after singing, too. Researchers observed improvements in gait and other motor functions, which can be significantly impaired by Parkinson's disease. The researchers found that singing appeared to produce benefits similar to those normally brought on by medication. This study included only 17 people, but researchers are looking to expand their efforts to explore more possible benefits of singing therapy and what approaches may be most effective. Community hospitals, public health programs, and retirement centers may provide singing programs for people with Parkinson's disease in your community. After an hour or so of singing, you may feel better as well.

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Title Annotation:NEWS BRIEFS
Publication:Mind, Mood & Memory
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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