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Sound Health: An NIH-Kennedy Center Partnership
Music can get you moving, lift your mood, and even help you recall a memory, but can it improve your health? Through a new partnership, the National Institutes of Health and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will expand on an initiative that NIH has had with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) for several years called Sound Health. Scientists are already investigating how music can be used to help cancer patients fight anxiety about treatments, help children with autism learn communication skills, and assist people with Parkinson’s disease walk in a steady rhythm, but there is much still to be learned.
The partnership will broaden the scope of Sound Health to:
- expand current knowledge and understanding of how listening, performing, or creating music involves intricate circuitry in the brain that could be harnessed for health and wellness applications in daily life,
- explore ways to enhance the potential for music as therapy for neurological disorders,
- identify future opportunities for research, and
- create public awareness about how the brain functions and interacts with music.
To inform the direction of the partnership, eminent scholars and researchers convened a workshop at NIH on January 26-27 to discuss the evidence of how music is processed in the brain and used as therapy. As a result of the workshop, NIH will identify areas of science that provide the greatest opportunity to validate current findings and advance knowledge about when and how music can be an effective treatment. These findings will be presented at a public event at the Kennedy Center on June 2-3, 2017 called Sound Health: Music and the Mind. The event will feature performances by the NSO and interactive presentations and discussions with some of the world’s leading minds working at the intersection of neuroscience and music.
The NSO also continues to work with NIH through Sound Health, performing regularly for patients, doctors, nurses and staff at the NIH Clinical Center.
This page last reviewed on February 14, 2017