There’s enough research that proves how music helps patients feel better. It aids recovery by reducing stress, enhancing relaxation and distracts one from pain. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery has discovered yet another effect of music on health. Researchers from Japan have found that music can influence the immune system and reduce rejection of heart transplants in mice.
Although scientists haven’t yet able to clearly understand the link between the immune system and brain function, music is used clinically to reduce anxiety after heart attack, or to reduce pain and nausea during bone marrow transplantation. There is some evidence that music may act via the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the bodily functions that we have no conscious control over, including digestion.
Researchers from Japan investigated if music could influence the survival of heart transplants in mice. They found that opera and classical music both increased the time before the transplanted organs failed, but single frequency monotones and new age music did not.
The team led by Dr Masanori Niimi pinpointed the source of this protection to the spleen. Dr Uchiyama and Jinfound that mice that were exposed to Opera music had increased number of those cells that regulate the peripheral immune response. They also had increased levels of anti-inflammatory substances.
Although the research was carried on mice, the positive effects of music on the immune systems of humans is already established. Also, the researchers looked at a limited selection of composers, so the effect of music on reducing organ rejection may not be limited to opera.
Original article: http://www.cardiothoracicsurgery.org/content/7/1/26/abstract