TUESDAY, May 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Music listening interventions appear to be a promising approach to improving cognitive recovery following a stroke, according to a study recently published in the International Journal of Stroke.

Satu Baylan, Ph.D., from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomly assigned ischemic stroke patients to three groups for an eight-week intervention: mindful music listening (23 participants), music listening (24 participants), or audiobook listening (25 participants; control group).

The researchers found that 94 percent of participants were fully consistent with the protocol, with 68.1 percent completing at least six of eight treatment visits, 80 to 107 percent reporting listening adherence, and 83 percent reporting retention to the six-month end point. At the six-month follow-up treatment, compared with audio book listening, effect sizes for cognition varied by measure: list learning (Cohen’s d, 0.00 for music alone; d, 0.31, for mindful music); immediate story recall (d, 0.58 for music alone; d, 0.51 for mindful music); and additional switching (d, 0.67 for music alone; d, 0.77 for mindful music). No evidence showed a signal of change for mood. The study was too small to detect a clinically substantial difference in improvement in verbal memory (delayed story recall).

“We think that the intentional focus of mindfulness during listening, which encourages people to place themselves in the here-and-now when their mind wanders, might help individuals affected by stroke improve their concentration, reduce rumination in negative thoughts and feelings, and this may also help with their ability to recall information from memory,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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