Singing May Lessen Parkinson's Symptoms, Study Shows

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Research has shown that singing can help ease respiratory problems and improve swallowing in people with Parkinson’s disease. Now, data from a pilot study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University in Ames suggests singing also may lessen the effects of stress, improve mood, and have a beneficial effect on motor symptoms in Parkinson’s patients. Results of this small study, which are preliminary, were presented at the Society for Neuroscience 2018 conference.

This is one of the first studies to examine the effects of singing on heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol — physiological markers of stress — in people with Parkinson's disease. The researchers discovered reductions in all three stress indicators in 17 study participants in a therapeutic singing group. They reported no significant changes in levels of happiness or anger but saw slight reductions in anxiety and sadness. None of these findings reached statistical significance, however, according to the researchers.

Next, the Iowa State researchers hope to identify the mechanism behind singing’s benefits for people with Parkinson’s, by analyzing blood samples to determine if oxytocin levels or changes in inflammation or neuroplasticity are contributing factors. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone related to feelings of love and empathy. Inflammation can indication Parkinson’s progression, and neuroplasticity is a measure of the brain’s ability to compensate for the disease.

Sourced from: Science Daily