Music app could be source of therapy for Parkinson’s, researchers claim

An app focusing on the link between Parkinson’s disease treatments and music could soon be available to sufferers as a result of breakthrough Irish research.

The move has come as part of a €3m international study led by researchers at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

After finding a connection between musical rhythm and physiological changes in the body, those behind the EU-funded BeatHealth scheme believe they may have found a way to help sufferers fight back.

Dr Tomas Ward, software development leader said: “Music works on our autonomic nervous system, thus stimulating our sensations of wellbeing at a sub-conscious level, which led behavioural scientists to the exciting conclusion that music and rhythm could be the source of new therapeutic tools.

“Fortunately, recent innovations in mobile technology and sensors in the last 10 years mean we can now deliver such therapies whenever the user or patient is free to practice them. Our research will have a major impact on how we exercise and on illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease,” he said.

The finding comes after Italian neurologist, Daniele Volpe, found a link between the therapeutic effects of Irish set dancing and the condition.

He made the breakthrough, which also focuses on the connection between rhythm and helping a person with Parkinson’s to move more steadily, after a visit to a céilí in Feakle, Co Clare, in 2010.


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