Volume 50 (2009) Issue 1 Pages 95-110
Music therapy (MT) has been used in geriatric nursing hospitals, but there has been no extensive research into whether it actually has beneficial effects on elderly patients with cerebrovascular disease (CVD) and dementia. We investigated the effects of MT on the autonomic nervous system and plasma cytokine and catecholamine levels in elderly patients with CVD and dementia, since these are related to aging and chronic geriatric disease. We also investigated the effects of MT on congestive heart failure (CHF) events.
Eighty-seven patients with pre-existing CVD were enrolled in the study. We assigned patients into an MT group (n = 55) and non-MT group (n = 32). The MT group received MT at least once per week for 45 minutes over 10 times. Cardiac autonomic activity was assessed by heart rate variability (HRV). We measured plasma cytokine and catecholamine levels in both the MT group and non-MT group. We compared the incidence of CHF events between these two groups. In the MT group, rMSSD, pNN50, and HF were significantly increased by MT, whereas LF/HF was slightly decreased. In the non-MT group, there were no significant changes in any HRV parameters. Among cytokines, plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the MT group was significantly lower than those in the non-MT group. Plasma adrenaline and noradrenaline levels were significantly lower in the MT group than in the non-MT group. CHF events were less frequent in the MT group than in the non-MT group (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that MT enhanced parasympathetic activities and decreased CHF by reducing plasma cytokine and catecholamine levels.