Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parkinson's patients sing in tune with creative arts therapy

Date:
June 14, 2011
Source:
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Summary:
Music and drama offers physical and emotional benefits for patients with Parkinson's.

Twice a month a jam session takes place on the third floor of Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital. A diverse group of men and women, ranging in age and ethnicity, gather in a circle with instruments in hand and sing together.
Credit: Image courtesy of Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Twice a month a jam session takes place on the third floor of Northwestern Memorial's Prentice Women's Hospital. A diverse group of men and women, ranging in age and ethnicity, gather in a circle with instruments in hand and sing together. This is no ordinary jam band; all its members have Parkinson's disease. They are participating in Creative Arts for Parkinson's, a music and drama therapy program offered through Northwestern's Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center.

Related Articles


Creative Arts for Parkinson's is lead by specially trained music and drama therapists from the Institute for Therapy through the Arts (ITA). The participants are asked to reach deep into their emotions and to push themselves physically to achieve the therapeutic benefits which address both the symptoms of the disease and its psychological burden.

On a recent Monday afternoon, the group took turns singing something that describes who they are while keeping the beat with percussion pieces. A small woman with a slight tremor sings in a loud, strong voice: "My disease made me stronger!" The group around her enthusiastically joins the chant, clapping their instruments, singing "My disease made me stronger! My disease made me stronger!"

"Patient care is much more than just medical; it's caring for the whole person," said Tanya Simuni, MD, a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and director of the Parkinson 's Disease and Movement Disorders Center. Simuni is also an associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "By providing music and drama therapy, we are hoping to help these patients find new means of fulfillment in their lives while also addressing some of the physical components of their illness."

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that affects nearly 1.5 million Americans. Progressing slowly in most people, the disease involves a lack of dopamine in the brain which causes symptoms including tremor, slowness of movement, muscle stiffness and balance problems.

"Our goal is to find new approaches to help these patients address their illness," explained Diane Breslow, MSW, LCSW, coordinator and social worker for the center. "Very often with Parkinson's disease there is a fear of the future and the unknown; we want to give these patients a better way to live with their disease in the present."

Music and drama therapy addresses many of the physical and emotional components of Parkinson's disease. Benefits include improvement of physical coordination and functional movement, postural awareness, as well as speech and voice enrichment.

"In the music portion, the patients are learning the concept of rhythm which helps them improve their gait and movement," explained Breslow. "Reading scripts during the drama portion increases word recall and articulation, while the voice is exercised in both parts of the class."

Beyond the physical benefits of the therapy, Creative Arts also enhances mood and positive attitude. The patients use the opportunity to set personal goals and encourage one another to address specific challenges they face because of their illness. During one session, the group read through a scene from the Academy Award winning "King's Speech." One of the men in the group acknowledges the similarities between the main character's experience and his own. He tells the class that when first diagnosed, he would speak softer or take smaller steps in anticipation of the disease eventually limiting these abilities. After this revelation, he proposed a challenge to the group: "Let's make it a goal to use our loud voices and make sure we can be heard. We need our loud voices."

Moments like this are why Breslow loves her job. "I've seen firsthand how these techniques bring out feelings the patients might not otherwise have access to," said Breslow. "Music and drama are a beautiful way to access and deal with life experiences and Parkinson's disease. I learn more from these patients than I give."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Parkinson's patients sing in tune with creative arts therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614132038.htm>.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital. (2011, June 14). Parkinson's patients sing in tune with creative arts therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614132038.htm
Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Parkinson's patients sing in tune with creative arts therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614132038.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins