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Healing Mozart? The Science of Music in Medicine

Claudius Conrad, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital

May 25, 2011
23 minutes
Claudius Conrad

Claudius Conrad (Senior Surgical Resident, Massachusetts General Hospital; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts) is a surgeon who studies how music is helpful to patients (specially of Mozart’s music). He has played the piano seriously since he was 5. He demonstrated that, compared to controls, music significantly reduced the amount of sedative drugs needed to achieve comparable levels of sedation. Simultaneously, among those receiving the music intervention, plasma concentrations of growth hormone rose, whereas those of interleukin-6 and epinephrine fell. The reduction in systemic stress hormone levels was associated with a significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate. Based on these findings, he developed a model of how music might act on neurologic, hormonal, and humoral levels to effect this relaxation.