Art, Music, Dance

Music and hypermetabolism in critical illness

“Music may play an important role as an adjunct therapy in critical care,” according to researchers at Tufts University, School of Medicine, Boston.

First, the details.

  • They focused on the effects of music on the hypermetabolic response seen during critical illness, which is characterized by increased energy expenditure and muscle wasting.

And, the results, in the authors’ words.

  • Music may restore some of the distorted homeostasis observed in ICU patients, as well as reducing pain and the need for sedation.
  • Music likely reduces alterations in the hypothalamic-anterior pituitary-peripheral hormone axes that produce cortisol and growth hormone.
  • Music may also increase growth hormone levels, which can induce decreased production of cytokines such as IL-6 by white blood cells.

The bottom line?
All the findings are couched in language that implies the potential for effect (eg, “may,” “likely”).

The authors recommend further studies in order to determine how music can be used to benefit critically ill patients and the mechanisms of its effects.

1/30/09 19:42 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.