Art, Music, DanceCancerChildren

Benefits of music in kids with cancer

Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina report on the value of music in children with leukemia receiving chemotherapy.

First, the details.

  • 47 patients with leukemia and receiving chemotherapy were studied twice for 20 minutes each.
    • At visit 1, children rested.
    • At visit 2, they listened to harp music designed to “increase vitality and improve heart rate variability.”
  • At both visits, parents completed visual analog scales (VAS) before and after treatment of their child’s relaxation, well-being, vitality, anxiety, stress, and depression.
  • Patients’ heart rate variability was monitored during treatments.

And, the results.

  • Relaxation improved significantly more with music than rest.
  • Heart rate variability was significantly lower with music than rest.

The bottom line?
The authors think more research is needed to help better define the physiological response to music.

Unfortunately, the abstract does not reveal the music they used to “increase vitality.”

But this article from Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York describes the benefits of a player piano in their pediatric cancer wing.

It’s been so successful, a second piano with headphones and lighted keys will be added in September.

8/23/08 16:52 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.