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See Inside April/May 2008

A Brighter Tune

Classical music may lift depressed patients' spirits

Add “therapist” to Beethoven’s list of talents. After listening to the master’s third and fifth sonatas, depressed patients in a recent study felt happier. The research, presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, found that classical music benefited both genders and that the music gave the biggest boost to educated and younger people.

This study supports previous findings that music therapy can be an effective and economical way to treat patients. A recently published review of the literature found that four out of five studies showed patients who had been given music therapy experienced a greater reduction in depression than those who had been randomly assigned to a different type of therapy. “Music has a specific potential that can be used therapeutically to promote well-being and alleviate symptoms like depression, anxiety, stress, anger and agitation,” reports the Beethoven study’s co-author, Pasadena City College neuroscientist Parvaneh Mohammadian.

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