Art, Music, Dance

Is there a role for music in treating critical illness?

 Researchers from Boston and Munich have reviewed the effects of music on the increased rate of metabolic activity during critical illness.

There are few studies of the physiologic mechanisms influenced by music, but here’s what we know.

  • Music may help correct some of the abnormal metabolic activity observed in ICU patients.
  • It may also improve pain and the need for sedation.
  • Music may alter the hypothalamic-anterior pituitary-peripheral hormone axes, growth hormone levels, and circulating stress hormones.

The bottom line?
The authors believe “Music may play an important role as an adjunct therapy in critical care. However, further studies are necessary to elucidate … underlying mechanisms of its beneficial effects.”

10/2/08 21:40 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.