The aims of the project are to determine the long-term effects of an enriched sound environment (daily music or speech listening) on verbal, cognitive, and emotional recovery after an acute acute stroke; to study the physiological and neural mechanisms underlying the rehabilitative effects music in stroke patients; and to assess the neural links between verbal and musical deficits (aphasia and amusia). In the project, stroke patients listen to different types of music or speech (audio books) or receive only standard care during the early post-stroke phase and their recovery is repeatedly assessed using neuropsychological and language tests, questionnaires, hormonal markers, and modern structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI/fMRI) methods, including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Our first study (2004-2007, Deparment of Neurology, Helsinki University Central Hospital) provided the first evidence that daily music listening can enhance cognitive, emotional, and neural recovery. Our second ongoing study (2011 onwards, Deparment of Neurology, Turku University Hospital) aims to verify the rehabilitative effect, determine what type of music is most beneficial, and shed more light on its physiological and neural mechanisms.
The project is a joint collaboration between the Cognitive Brain Research Unit (CBRU), Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki; Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä; Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH); Department of Neurology, Turku University Central Hospital (TUCH); HUS Helsinki Medical Imaging Centre; Medical Imaging Centre of Southwest Finland; Turku Brain and Mind Centre; Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Åbo Akademi University; Turku University of Applied Sciences; International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), University of Montreal; and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, University of Barcelona. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland, Doctoral Programme of Psychology, Learning and Communication, Jenny and Antti Wihuri foundation, and Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation.