Thursday, December 11, 2008

Music for the Brain Could be a Stress-Buster

Music for the brain could be a stress-buster
Written by Monica Matys, CTV News
Sep. 16 2002
Posted by Justine

Lead researcher Dr. Leonid Kayumov and his colleagues devised a theory: What if you could separate the calm brain waves from the stressed ones, and then try to treat the stressed ones? They then devised a way to do this by using complex algorithms. Using these algorithms they convert the natural brain activity of individuals into unique patterns of music, because music is organized sounds with constant change in volume, frequency, amplitude, tempo, which is essentially the same as brain patterns. Kayumov and his colleagues teamed up with a mathematician and a computer programmer. Together they developed a method of turning brain waves into "easy listening." How the process is done is by placing a mesh head device on the patient, to which electrodes are attached. Over about 40 minutes, these electrodes painlessly record brain activity onto a computer. Then, relaxed brain waves are separated from the anxious ones, using a series of algorithms. Using their unique program, Kayumov says these waves are translated into music. Patients are then given a CD containing several minutes of their "brain music," which they can listen to anywhere and anytime. While there is the potential to use 120 different instruments in the music, researchers are currently using just the keyboard to capture these calming tones. Right now it's only being used to treat existing stress, insomnia and anxiety. But Kayumov says brain music could potentially help prevent stress. “For example, people anticipating an important meeting, or event -- they can listen to the music before that event,” says Kayumov.

Wow!! That is really interesting. I think this is an amazing discovery for society and who knows what could come of this in the future. Perhaps eventually we could make brain music to help heal or reduce our chances of getting cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis… Wouldn’t it be great not to have to take medication that causes so many side effects? This could be the medicine of the future. I have never heard of this process before and really wonder how effective it is. So intrigued I googled brain music therapy to see where in Toronto someone could get it done if they wanted to. I then came across some videos of brain music therapy and really wanted to hear what this brain music might sound like. One video described it as classical like music and another seemed like it was more trance like. I found a video called “Brain Wave Music in the Key of EEG,” which aired on Daily Planet. James Fung a computer engineer from U of T put together a group brain music concert. It seemed like some people enjoyed the atmosphere of the event but weren’t actually affected by it in any way that they noticed. I think it is one of those things that you can’t just do once and expect to feel something from it. However, it seems like people are very interested in what the long term affects of it are. Personally, I would love to try it out to see what affect it has on my stress.

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