Singing for Alzheimer’s and Mysicophilia by Oliver Sacks

 

I recently had cause to dig out my copy of Oliver Sacks book Musicophilia and lend it to a friend, because she has started to volunteer for an organisation that is using singing to help people with Alzheimer’s. This improves memory, health and wellbeing.

For those of you that are interested the Alzheimer’s society project link is very interesting.

http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=760 and shows a video of the project and has links explaining what it is.

I know a lot of people who have said sound effects their epilepsy, I found this  newspaper review that explains what Musicophilia has to say about Alzheimers and epilepsy.

If anyone wants to borrow my copy just let me now and I can lend it to you when it gets back to me!

‘Sacks tells some very moving stories about those with terrifyingly profound amnesia, or Alzheimer’s disease, for whom music can “restore them to themselves”. People with aphasia can be taught to speak again through singing. On the other hand, previously healthy people begin to have “musical hallucinations”, blasted by intrusive ghostly music during every waking second; and others have seizures in response to music, or “musicogenic epilepsy” – which, intriguingly, can be selective. One woman Sacks cites “had seizures only in response to ‘modern, dissonant music,’ never in response to classical or romantic music” – and her husband was a composer of the type of music that gave her seizures, which one suspects may be a hint. But such a violent response to certain music might be more common than suspected: “Many people, [one researcher thought], might start to get a queer feeling – disturbing, perhaps frightening – when they heard certain music, but then would immediately retreat from the music, turn it off, or block their ears, so that they did not progress to a full-blown seizure.” Indeed, certain styles of free jazz have always made me physically nauseous.’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/nov/03/scienceandnature.music review Stephen Poole The Guardian Newspaper

The Heart of Music

 

Thanks Aelana for this really interesting harp music therapy programme that looks at the relationship between the heart and music.

The site contains an interesting vimeo from the Institute of Heart Math about the heart and music.  Good information on using biofeedback to train heart rate variability, and induce relaxation and healing in the body.

When we lose consciousness or die, the hearing is one of the last senses to go.

Maybe this is why music is so sacred.

This also spreads light on why chanting is so healing.

When we chant or sing we are soothing our hearts! 🙂

Harping Heals

Harp playing relaxes, energizes, soothes, and heals the youngest of children and oldest of adults.

    • Releases emotional pain
    • Improves short-term memory and attention span
    • Increases social interaction
    • Builds self-esteem
    • Relieves stress

 

http://www.harptherapyinternational.com/

http://www.heartmath.org/

Feeling Music

 

Last week I went to listen to a polyphonic choir rehearse.

I was tired; really, really tired when I arrived.

My mind and my body were so exhausted that I was hardly able to move from the seat.

I sat behind the choir as they faced forward to sing. It is a position that you don’t normally hear from unless you are in the choir singing.

They started to rehearse.

The melodies that began to unfold washed over me like sunshine through rain drops.

If they were the sun, the rays of energy would have been spiralling out like solar flares, warming the solar system, gently curling around the heavenly bodies of the planets and out into the stars.

I had forgotten what it is like to be in a room with other people singing. It is so long since I sang in a choir.

It was like the molecules in the air became droplets of snow, falling down onto my skin, making my body tingle all over like keys on a piano.

The voices sang out and the songs rained down from the walls and the ceiling. The vibrations and harmonies could be felt through the soles of my feet from the wooden floor.

My hairs stood on end.

Every particle in the air was vibrating as the voices of the altos, tenors, bases, second sopranos and sopranos breathed in and out their sweet sounds.

I closed my eyes it was so relaxing, and in my mind I could see the patterns and lights like rays of sunshine flashing across my eyes.

The music made me feel alive and so peaceful.

It didn’t send me to sleep because the buzzing, tingling sensations that were left after they stopped singing carried on until I went to bed.

I was like having a spiritual shower.

I can understand why people experience music from their soul.

The voices really touched mine.

Their next concert is called ‘The Sacred and Profane’.

You can listen to some short excerpts from their songs at their website, but none of the ones I heard rehearsed. They were well worth listening to.

http://www.readingbachchoir.org.uk/

http://www.readingbachchoir.org.uk/media/listen-to-the-choir/

 

 

Neurological Rock Stars 2 – Parkinson’s Nautrally blog by Fred Phillips

http://fredphillips.wordpress.com/articles/healing-parkinsons-disease-naturally/#comment-615

Please follow the link to Fred Phillips Blog, and inspiring story of treating parkinson’s nautrally. Fred has taken the time and care to write about how he is using diet, yoga, meditation and emotional healing to treat his Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

His diet advice in particular in relation to inflammation and the relationship between gut and immune system function are really useful (to me especially! 🙂 ).

Fred has a very good understanding of the physiology of the body and how it all inter-relates.

Fred has also written a book about healing.

Fred is also a KARATE TEACHER!!! 🙂

 

Music and the Mind – Avatar Music For Health?

This post is inspired by the blog: http://dragonandrose.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/epilepsy-classical-music/

Another area around music and brain caught my eye today.

Eduardo Miranda (1) is featured in the BBC report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20799961

for his work in Brain Computer interfaces(2).

His research at Plymouth university (3) where ‘music’ meets ‘avatar’, is funded to breakdown Beethoven’s seventh symphony and reinterpret the music on a computer as heard by 3 individuals, a ballerina, a gulf war veteran and Dr Miranda himself.(4)

All the subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning to take pictures of the emotional responses to the music in the brain so that they could be reapplied to the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony.

Listening to the BBC report is fascinating, as you can hear the difference between the ballerina’s more jerky interpretation of the music (Dr Miranda puts this down to her possible use of body movement in interpretation of music), whereas Dr Miranda’s version is more fluid and different instruments are more audible, he thinks this is because he hears it as someone who plays the piano.

The brain computer interface has also been used by Dr Miranda’s team to help someone with ‘locked in syndrome’ (5) to make music from their brainwaves. Electrodes trigger music from the brainwaves.

The results are a bit weird, but they are wonderful, and Dr Miranda hopes to utilise the technology to perhaps invent a prescription of musical health for people suffering from depression and other emotional health problems, by identifying patterns of brain waves and changing them.

Maybe one day this will even help epilepsy?!

Some basic information about brainwave states can be found at:

http://www.doctorhugo.org/brainwaves/brainwaves.html

As well as some information about Neurofeedback Therapy which has already been used to treat epilepsy as well as migraine, autism, sleep deregulation and others at:

http://www.projectchilld.com/10.html

 

(1)    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduardo_Reck_Miranda

(2)    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-computer_interface

(3)    http://neuromusic.soc.plymouth.ac.uk/

(4)    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-09/23/music-writing-computer

(5)    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locked-in_syndrome

 

 

Epilepsy & Classical Music

epilepsy and classical music experiences

dragonandrose

I wanted to do some online research to see if there was some connection between epilepsy and classical music.  Every time that I listen to it I instantly forget all of my worries and feel completely at ease.

According to http://www.epilepsyhealth.com/music-healing.html:

  • Raymond Barr, head of the Coronary Care unit at Baltimore’s St. Agnes Hospital says, “For adult patients, half an hour of music produces the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium.”
  • For best results, do not listen to music for more than three hours at one time. If you find that you’ve had music playing for more than three hours, turn it off and take a break. The brain responds to variety and too much of any one stimulus produces a kind of fatigue and even irritation.
  • You are unique. Experiment with different types of music, and be aware of the effects each style of music…

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