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Singing can reduce stress, improve mood for people with Parkinson's disease

Singing can reduce the stress and the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, researchers say have the benefits of music therapy similar to taking medication. Iowa State University researchers in the US measured the number of heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels for 17 participants in the therapy group of chanting.

Participants also reported about feelings of sadness, anxiety, happiness, and anger. Data was collected before and after one-hour singing. "Every week, we see improvement when they leave the singing group, and they almost seemed to have a little pep in their step." We know they feel better and their mood has increased, "said Elizabeth Stegemoller, an assistant at the University of Iowa.

"Some of the symptoms that improve, like fingerprints and walking, do not always respond to medication, but singing improves," Stegemoller said.

Parkinson's disease is a common, chronic degenerative disorder of the central nervous system affecting about 10 million people worldwide. (Shutterstock)

This is one of the first studies to determine how singing affects the number of heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol in Parkinson's patients. All three levels were reduced, but Stegemoller showed with preliminary data that the measures did not reach statistical significance. There were no significant differences in happiness or anger after class. However, the participants were less anxious and sad.

The research is based on previous findings by the team that singing is an effective treatment for improving respiratory control and muscle used to swallow people with Parkinson's disease.

Researchers have said that therapeutic singing can provide accessible and accessible treatment options to enhance motor symptoms, stress and quality of life for people with Parkinson's Disease.

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First published: November 9, 2018 11:45 pm IST

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