• In Case You Missed It

    Posted on August 27, 2015 by Jessica Ryan in Miscellaneous.


    Wow, have we had a busy month in the PSO Education & Community Engagement Department! It kicked off with a presentation at the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference in Washington, D.C. and flew by as we prepared for our first Neighborhood Week—next week’s lineup of six community events happening in five days. I don’t know about you, but when I’m busy I get behind on my news reading. Throughout this month I’ve flagged multiple articles about new research findings in the music and wellness field and have only now found time to catch up and read them all.

    In case you missed some of these in your own busyness, here are brief summaries of several of the more interesting and informative articles. You can visit the original sources to explore more!



    The PSO’s feline musical ambassador to children, Fiddlesticks, hugs a Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC patient while PSO musicians Gail Czajkowski and Penny Brill, who has provided music for surgery patients before, play for a group of families in the hospital. To learn more about Penny’s experience, visit last year’s post entitled Musical Anesthesia.

    Sutures With A Soundtrack: Music Can Ease Pain, Anxiety of Surgery: In a meta-analysis of results pooled from 73 randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of music on surgery patients, researchers found that listening to music significantly decreased patients’ pain and anxiety, increased patient satisfaction, and reduced the need for pain medication. These findings held regardless of the musical selections or whether patients listened before, during, or after surgery.

    First-of-its-Kind Study Finds Music Therapy Lowers Anxiety During Surgical Breast Biopsies: This randomized controlled trial involved 207 women and assigned some to take part in brief, pre-surgery music therapy sessions. Each of these women heard a recording or a music therapist’s performance of a song she selected and then listened to recordings of therapist-chosen music during surgery. Listening to music, whether live or recorded, significantly reduced anxiety; however, it did not significantly alter patient satisfaction or the amount of anesthesia needed. In general, listening to live and recorded music led to similar results, except that compared to recorded music, live music significantly reduced recovery time.

    Music in the Operating Room Off-Putting, Study Suggests: Through a small study involving the review of 20 previously filmed surgeries, researchers observed that operating room personnel were five times more likely to ask that others repeat instructions during the 16 operations performed with music in the background—leading to irritation and longer surgeries. Authors recommended the creation of criteria to govern music type and volume during surgeries as a way to minimize such communication difficulties.

    When Surgeons Listen to Their Preferred Music, Their Stitches are Better and Faster: In this small study, 15 plastic surgery residents performed the same operation twice—once while listening to music they selected and once without music. Some first completed the surgery in silence, and others operated with the music first. Regardless of the order, residents listening to music finished the operations 7% more quickly, a significant difference, and performed at a higher level, as judged by a panel of surgeons.

    Music Therapy May Hold Promise For Treating Epilepsy: According to a presentation given at the American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention, researchers observed 21 individuals as they listened to classical and jazz music and found that the brainwaves of patients with epilepsy synchronized with the songs. Brainwaves synced in the temporal lobe, the region of the brain where 80% of seizures start, so the researchers theorized that perhaps music, coupled with other remedies, could be used to prevent seizure-related brainwave synchronization in the future.

    Did I miss any articles that you found interesting this summer? If so, leave a comment to share your findings with other readers and me!


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