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      Dynamic Interactions Between Musical, Cardiovascular, and Cerebral Rhythms in Humans

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          Abstract

          Reactions to music are considered subjective, but previous studies suggested that cardiorespiratory variables increase with faster tempo independent of individual preference. We tested whether compositions characterized by variable emphasis could produce parallel instantaneous cardiovascular/respiratory responses and whether these changes mirrored music profiles. Twenty-four young healthy subjects, 12 musicians (choristers) and 12 nonmusician control subjects, listened (in random order) to music with vocal (Puccini's "Turandot") or orchestral (Beethoven's 9th Symphony adagio) progressive crescendos, more uniform emphasis (Bach cantata), 10-second period (ie, similar to Mayer waves) rhythmic phrases (Giuseppe Verdi's arias "Va pensiero" and "Libiam nei lieti calici"), or silence while heart rate, respiration, blood pressures, middle cerebral artery flow velocity, and skin vasomotion were recorded.Common responses were recognized by averaging instantaneous cardiorespiratory responses regressed against changes in music profiles and by coherence analysis during rhythmic phrases. Vocal and orchestral crescendos produced significant (P=0.05 or better) correlations between cardiovascular or respiratory signals and music profile, particularly skin vasoconstriction and blood pressures, proportional to crescendo, in contrast to uniform emphasis, which induced skin vasodilation and reduction in blood pressures. Correlations were significant both in individual and group-averaged signals. Phrases at 10-second periods by Verdi entrained the cardiovascular autonomic variables. No qualitative differences in recorded measurements were seen between musicians and nonmusicians. Music emphasis and rhythmic phrases are tracked consistently by physiological variables. Autonomic responses are synchronized with music, which might therefore convey emotions through autonomic arousal during crescendos or rhythmic phrases.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after middle cerebral artery stroke.

          We know from animal studies that a stimulating and enriched environment can enhance recovery after stroke, but little is known about the effects of an enriched sound environment on recovery from neural damage in humans. In humans, music listening activates a wide-spread bilateral network of brain regions related to attention, semantic processing, memory, motor functions, and emotional processing. Music exposure also enhances emotional and cognitive functioning in healthy subjects and in various clinical patient groups. The potential role of music in neurological rehabilitation, however, has not been systematically investigated. This single-blind, randomized, and controlled trial was designed to determine whether everyday music listening can facilitate the recovery of cognitive functions and mood after stroke. In the acute recovery phase, 60 patients with a left or right hemisphere middle cerebral artery (MCA) stroke were randomly assigned to a music group, a language group, or a control group. During the following two months, the music and language groups listened daily to self-selected music or audio books, respectively, while the control group received no listening material. In addition, all patients received standard medical care and rehabilitation. All patients underwent an extensive neuropsychological assessment, which included a wide range of cognitive tests as well as mood and quality of life questionnaires, one week (baseline), 3 months, and 6 months after the stroke. Fifty-four patients completed the study. Results showed that recovery in the domains of verbal memory and focused attention improved significantly more in the music group than in the language and control groups. The music group also experienced less depressed and confused mood than the control group. These findings demonstrate for the first time that music listening during the early post-stroke stage can enhance cognitive recovery and prevent negative mood. The neural mechanisms potentially underlying these effects are discussed.
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            The enigma of Mayer waves: Facts and models.

             C Julien (2006)
            Mayer waves are oscillations of arterial pressure occurring spontaneously in conscious subjects at a frequency lower than respiration (approximately 0.1 Hz in humans). Mayer waves are tightly coupled with synchronous oscillations of efferent sympathetic nervous activity and are almost invariably enhanced during states of sympathetic activation. For this reason, the amplitude of these oscillations has been proposed as a surrogate measure of sympathetic activity, although in the absence of a clear knowledge of their underlying physiology. Some studies have suggested that Mayer waves result from the activity of an endogenous oscillator located either in the brainstem or in the spinal cord. Other studies, mainly based on the effects of sinoaortic baroreceptor denervation, have challenged this view. Several models of dynamic arterial pressure control have been developed to predict Mayer waves. In these models, it was anticipated that the numerous dynamic components and fixed time delays present in the baroreflex loop would result in the production of a resonant, self-sustained oscillation of arterial pressure. Recent analysis of the various transfer functions of the rat baroreceptor reflex suggests that Mayer waves are transient oscillatory responses to hemodynamic perturbations rather than true feedback oscillations. Within this frame, the amplitude of Mayer waves would be determined both by the strength of the triggering perturbations and the sensitivity of the sympathetic component of the baroreceptor reflex.
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              Towards a neural basis of music perception.

              Music perception involves complex brain functions underlying acoustic analysis, auditory memory, auditory scene analysis, and processing of musical syntax and semantics. Moreover, music perception potentially affects emotion, influences the autonomic nervous system, the hormonal and immune systems, and activates (pre)motor representations. During the past few years, research activities on different aspects of music processing and their neural correlates have rapidly progressed. This article provides an overview of recent developments and a framework for the perceptual side of music processing. This framework lays out a model of the cognitive modules involved in music perception, and incorporates information about the time course of activity of some of these modules, as well as research findings about where in the brain these modules might be located.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Circulation
                Circulation
                Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
                0009-7322
                1524-4539
                June 30 2009
                June 30 2009
                : 119
                : 25
                : 3171-3180
                Affiliations
                [1 ]From the Department of Internal Medicine (L.B., C.P., G.C., R.B., R.F.), Pavia University and IRCCS S. Matteo, Pavia, Italy; Department of Psychology (N.F.B.), University Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy; and Nuffield Department of Medicine (P.S.), John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom.
                Article
                10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.806174
                19569263
                © 2009

                Molecular medicine, Neurosciences

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