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Can Music Reduce Pain?

Apr 15 2019 Read 877 Times

From triggering intense emotions to healing broken hearts, music can be an incredibly powerful medium. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Utah is claiming that classical music can significantly reduce pain and inflammation in mice.

The breakthrough study was published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology and explains how the team used 3-hour-long Mozart compositions to soothe pain and inflammation in mice with injured paws. One group of mice were serenaded with classical music for 21 days, while the control group were left to heal without assistance from the Austrian maestro.

New study suggests Mozart can boost medications

When subjected to heat and pressure, the mice that were played Mozart were able to withstand discomfort for 77% longer than their control group counterparts. Furthermore, the team discovered that music significantly enhanced the performance of medications, with ibuprofen treatments reducing swelling by more than 93% when paired with Mozart music. Cannabidiol was also 21% more effective when used alongside concertos and sonatas.

Grzegorz Bulaj, co-author of the study explains that music could be used to enhance the efficacy of human-prescribed painkillers. This would consequently reduce dosage requirements and minimise the "toxicity and adverse effects” associated with many painkillers.

The soothing properties of melodies

While the team can't explain how music helps to manage pain and reduce inflammation, previous studies suggest that melodies can actively decrease stress hormones like cortisol, which is associated with inflammation. Other studies champion music as a way to regulate cytokines, pro-inflammatory proteins that work to develop new neurons in the brain and support the wound-healing process. Previous clinical studies also suggest that listening to Mozart's K.448 sonata can significantly reduce seizure frequency in paediatric epilepsy patients.

In the long-term, Bulaj and his team assert that the goal is to unravel how certain musical sequences and structures influence pain-reducing electrical patterns in the brain and peripheral nervous system. They also note that while musical taste is personal, Mozart was chosen for his rhythmic repetitions, which are scientifically proven to calm the nervous system.

It's not just Mozart that is making a mark on the scientific world, with beer also landing in the spotlight. Introducing the state-of-the-art Compass Chromatography Data System (CDS), 'The Analysis of Flavours in Beer with ChromSync Software' explores how lab technology is used to test and monitor flavour compounds during the brewing process.

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