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Role Of Music In Parkinson Disease By Neda Ghoddousi

Role Of Music In Parkinson Disease

Role of music in Parkinson disease - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

What is Parkinson?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a kind of neurodegenerative disorder that can be progressive and affects the aged population mostly ≥65 years.

Lack of dopamine is the main factor in the occurrence of this disease which is responsible for the sense of pleasure and good mood also body movements and locomotion.

Dopamine deficiency because of loss in dopamine secreting neurons such as substantia nigra(black substance) pars compacta located in the midbrain is characterized as the second most common brain disorder after Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Dopamine?


Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that functions as a chemical messenger in the brain.

Its release from substantia nigra, which contains a high level of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain, can transfer signals to the other nerve cells in different parts of the brain and promote locomotor and reward-motivated activities.

Thus having an adequate production of dopamine is necessary to prevent some mood and movement problems.

Which are the Main Causes?

Decreased production and release of dopamine due to the destruction of dopaminergic neurons can have a variety of causes:


  • first-degree relative
  • mutation


  • Exposure to toxins (pesticides)

What are the Symptoms?

Parkinson's patients

Since dopamine plays a crucial role as the main chemical of satisfaction and also regulator of motor behaviors, its absence in Parkinson’s patients is characterized by both motor and non-motor related symptoms.

Motor related:

  • Tremor
  • Rigidity
  • Akinesia
  • Postural instability

Non-motor symptoms:

  • Mood disorders
  • Cognitive changes
  • Sleep disorders
  • Hallucinations and delusions

What are the Treatments?

There is no certain cure for Parkinson’s disease, but it can be alleviated by:

1. Medications


Strong evidence supports using some kinds of medications that can ameliorate motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson and slow down the progression of the disease. Levodopa (L-dopa) is a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine so it can be the first known drug.

Dopamine agonists (DA) are the other types of medications that activate dopamine receptors such as D1-like and D2-like receptors and increase the effectiveness of dopamine. Also, antidepressants drugs such as MAOIs (Monoamines Oxidase Inhibitors) can be used to relieve mood problems.

2. Surgery

In some severe cases, when the medications and other therapies are ineffective and usually in the end stages of the disease, surgery and deep brain stimulation can be the solution for motor control improvement and life expectancy.

3. Therapy

  • Physical therapy
  • Music therapy (MT)

As a new method in the rehabilitation program, active music therapy means utilization of instruments is one of the non-pharmacologic treatments that can improve gate velocity, stride length, maintain balance, and posture. Also, rhythmic movements strongly stimulate the motor function and emotional responses in Parkinson’s patients.

Some studies demonstrate that rhythmic dancing and participating in music therapy programs motivate creativity and elevate the quality of life in the aged people who are dealing with depression and akinesia related to this neurodegenerative disorder.

Music therapy can be beneficial through two mechanisms:

  • Auditory Rhythmic Stimulation
  • Dopamine releasing
Rhythmic auditory stimulation

Image Credit: Given By Author

In 1996, MH Thaut; et al studied rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) on 15 Parkinson’s cases during three weeks of the home-based gait training program.

They assessed the electromyogram (EMG) patterns and stride parameters before and after training and compared these data with the other two control groups, who did not participate in the gait training program and who participated in an internally self-paced training program.

After three weeks, they illustrated a significant increase in the gait velocity, stride length, and step cadence by 25%, 12%, 5% respectively, in trained subjects more than self-paced participants who increased their velocity by 7% and inactive subjects whose velocity decreased by 7%. Auditory systems through rhythms can improve motor execution.

4. Rhythm

  • Improves synchronization
  • Adjustment of muscles to auditory stimuli,
  • Facilitates movement coordination , regularization, and may even produce an internal rhythm that persists in the absence of stimuli


Music therapy is a safe way to improve Parkinson’s patient symptoms and increase their life satisfaction.

Most of the studies demonstrated that MT (music therapy) has beneficial effects for the non-pharmacologic treatment of motor and non-motor symptoms and enhances a patient’s quality of life. The use of music and dance as a therapeutic tool combined with conventional therapies should be taken into account.

1] Teresa Lesiuk , Jennifer A. Bugos and Brea Murakami . (2018). A Rationale for Music Training to Enhance Executive Functions in Parkinson’s Disease.
2] BenjaminP .Gold , MichaelJ.Frank , Brigitte Bogert, and ElviraBrattico.(2013)Pleasurable music affects reinforcement learning according to the listener.
3] Alfredo Raglio.(2015)Music therapy interventions in Parkinson’s disease: the state-of-the-art.
4] Kenneth Blum, Thomas Simpatico, Marcelo Febo,Chris Rodriquez,Kristina Dushaj, Mona Li, Eric R. Braverman, Zsolt Demetrovics,Marlene Oscar-Berman,and Rajendra D. Badgaiyan .(2018) .Hypothesizing Music Intervention Enhances Brain Functional Connectivity Involving Dopaminergic Recruitment: Common Ne uro-correlates to Abusable Drugs.
5] Werner Poewe, Klaus Seppi, Caroline M. Tanner, Glenda M. Halliday, Patrik Brundin, Jens Volkmann, Anette-Eleonore Schrag & Anthony E. Lang .(2017).Parkinson disease.
6] Thomas Riemensperger , Abdul-RaoufIssa , UlrikePech , HélèneCoulom ,MỹVânNguyễn,MarlèneCassar,MélanieJacquet,AndréFiala,SergeBirman. (2013). A Single Dopamine Pathway Underlies Progressive Locomotor Deficits in a Drosophila Model of Parkinson Disease.
7] Barbara S. Connolly, Anthony E. Lang.(2014). Pharmacological Treatment of Parkinson Disease.
8] Kyle T Mitchell, Jill L Ostrem(2020). Surgical Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
9] Dr. M. H. Thaut, G. C. McIntosh, R. R. Rice, R. A. Miller, J. Rathbun, J. M. Brault(1996).Rhythmic auditory stimulation in gait training for Parkinson's disease patients.
10] NataliaGarcía-Casares, Julia EvaMartín-Colom,Juan AntonioGarcía-Arnés.(2018) Music Therapy in Parkinson's Disease.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.

Neda Ghoddousi


I was born and educated in Iran. My professional life has started when I was a teenager. I was an ambitious ba...

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