Parkinson’s: When art and music help patients
Art and music could improve the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease and help them maintain their motor skills, as long as rehabilitation programs for this disease are based on specialized scientific knowledge and are provided by trained health professionals.
This neurodegenerative disease plays a big role in the production of dopamine, a chemical that controls mood, well-being and body movements.
Art therapy helps patients express themselves and calm their troubles
According to Herve Patel, professor of neuropsychology, “Music and sound signals are increasingly used in the management of motor disorders in Parkinson patients, particularly to help them synchronize with musical instruments like the metronome or with rhythmic music. Numerous experiments have shown that musical induction allows the fluidity of movement […] in patients when they are able to sync up with the music and resume much more fluid motor skills.”
Art is a form of therapy for patients. Among other things, it helps them express and externalize their emotions by dancing, listening to music, drawing, painting, etc., all while calming their nervous symptoms like tremors, stress, anxiety and fear.
“These are research observations coupled with physiological measurements. […] It has been pointed out that music stimulates emotion-related brain circuits as well as dopamine diffusion.”
In collaboration with New York University, an Italian foundation, the Fresco Parkinson Institute, has opened a workshop currently being held in Florence, Italy.
This international workshop is dedicated to synaptic plasticity and advances in Parkinson’s research.
The foundation has launched an international continuing education program for physicians and health professionals in January 2019. This program focuses on enhancing the knowledge of art therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease.
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Translated from French by OXO