End of 2015 Roundup

In celebration of the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 we are doing a roundup of articles published in the last few months. 

Ripolles and colleagues (2015) investigated the use of music supported therapy on motor plasticity in persons who had a stroke (that occurred at least 6 months ago). They used fMRI to look at the affected hemisphere in 20 individuals. Sessions were held for 30 minutes and twenty sessions were completed within four weeks. The intervention involved playing tuned electronic drum pads where the participate copied patterns of playing the drum that were model by the therapist.  Participants also completed exercises on a piano, also modeled by the therapist. The therapist provided limb support where needed. Exercises became more difficult as the participant completed each pattern successfully. Results indicated improvements in auditory-motor connectivity of the affected hemisphere. It is not clear in the study if the interventionist had any specialized training in music therapy. Furthermore, there does not appear to be use of external timing cues for the motor movement.

Some Open Access resources include the Frontiers Issue on Sound, Music and Movement in Parkinson’s disease. This issue includes an article on auditory rhythmic cueing by Ashoori et al. (2015). The authors review RAS (a technique that uses a fixed external auditory stimulus to entrain gait), use of external rhythms that adapt to the patient’s gait, and virtual reality in gait therapy.

Bringas et al. (2015) investigated use of a music attention protocol as an aid to regular speech and occupational therapy sessions. 34 children were randomized to the control or music therapy group. Children in the music therapy group underwent 10 minutes of the researcher’s protocol right before their regular speech and occupational therapy sessions. Children in the control group received no music therapy, but continued with their regular speech and occupational therapy sessions. Results indicated that the children who had the additional music therapy sessions had changes in brain activity (improvements). The authors propose that music therapy had an enhancing effect on the other therapies. This Issue of Frontiers also includes article on musical emotions in ASD and sonification as a possible rehabilitation strategy.

Another open access Issue of Frontiers was entitled “Dialogues in music therapy and music neuroscience: collaborative understanding driving clinical advances.” This issue includes articles on music therapy for rehabilitation in Parkinson’s, the effect of sung speech on responsiveness in children with autism, and an article on the use of music to facilitate emotional regulation in preschool-aged children. Happy Reading!


Ashoori, A., Eagleman, D.M., & Jankovic, J. (2015) Effects of Auditory Rhythm and Music on Gait Disturbances in Parkinson’s Disease. Front Neurol. 2015 Nov 11;6:234. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2015.00234. PMID: 26617566

Bringas, M.L., Zaldivar, M., Rojas, P.A., Martinez-Montes, K., Chongo, D.M., Ortega, M.A., … Valdes-Sosa, P.A. (2015). Effectiveness of music therapy as an aid to neurorestoration of children with severe neurological disorders. Front Neurosci., 9(427). doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00427. PMID: 26582974

Ripolles et al., (2015). Music supported therapy promotes motor plasticity in individuals with chronic stroke. Brain Imaging Behavior. PMID: 26707190

Sena Moore, K., & Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2015). Theory-guided Therapeutic Function of Music to facilitate emotion regulation development in preschool-aged children. Front Hum Neurosci., 9(572). doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00572. PMID: 26528171