McGill Researchers Identify Health Benefits of Music

April 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

In the first large-scale review of 400 research papers in the neurochemistry of music, a team led by Prof. Daniel J. Levitin of McGill University’s Psychology Dept. has been able to show that playing and listening to music has clear benefits for both mental and physical health. In particular, music was found both to improve the body’s immune system function and to reduce levels of stress. Listening to music was also found to be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety prior to surgery.

“We’ve found compelling evidence that musical interventions can play a health care role in settings ranging from operating rooms to family clinics,” says Prof. Levitin. “But even more importantly, we were able to document the neurochemical mechanisms by which music has an effect in four domains: management of mood, stress, immunity and as an aid to social bonding.”

Indeed, the information gathered as part of this first large-scale review of the literature showed that music increased both immunoglobulin A, an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity of the mucous system, and natural killer cell counts (the cells that attack invading germs and bacteria). Levitin and his postgraduate research fellow, Dr. Mona Lisa Chanda, also found that listening to and playing music reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.

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Entry filed under: Biotechnology News and Info from Canadian Universities. Tags: , .

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