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Academic Innovations
April 7, 2004

Institute Probes Music's Therapeutic Potential

JAMA. 2004;291(13):1554-1555. doi:10.1001/jama.291.13.1554

The healing qualities of music have been appreciated since ancient times. Today, music continues to occupy a therapeutic niche in a range of settings and is gaining recognition as a valuable complement to conventional medical treatment in a number of areas, such as relieving pain during childbirth (Pain Manag Nurs. 2003;4:54-61) .

Rigorous evaluation of such effects is needed to ensure that music is used most effectively in patient care. Such an effort is one of the aims of neurologist Mark Jude Tramo, MD, PhD, founder and director of the Institute for Music and Brain Science at Harvard Medical School, in Boston. Throughout his career, Tramo has used music as a lens to examine brain function. He envisions the nascent institute as an entity that will bring a multidisciplinary perspective to research on how the auditory cortex functions—not only to gain insight into fundamental auditory processes, but also to apply that insight to such problems as hearing loss and brain damage.

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