Cognitive efficacy and neural mechanisms of music-based neurological rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes lifelong cognitive deficits, most often in executive function (EF). Both musical training and music-based rehabilitation have been shown to enhance EF and neuroplasticity. Thus far, however, there is little evidence for the potential rehabilitative effects of music for TBI. Here, we review the core findings from our recent cross-over randomized controlled trial in which a 10-week music-based neurological rehabilitation (MBNR) protocol was administered to 40 patients with moderate-to-severe TBI. Neuropsychological testing and structural/functional magnetic resonance imaging were collected at three time points (baseline, 3 months, and 6 months); one group received the MBNR between time points 1 and 2, while a second group received it between time points 2 and 3. We found that both general EF and set shifting improved after the intervention, and this effect was maintained long term. Morphometric analyses revealed therapy-induced gray matter volume changes most consistently in the right inferior frontal gyrus, changes that correlated with better outcomes in set shifting. Finally, we found changes in the between- and within-network functional connectivity of large-scale resting-state networks after MBNR, which also correlated with measures of EF. Taken together, the data provide evidence for concluding that MBNR improves EF in TBI; also, the data show that morphometric and resting-state functional connectivity are sensitive markers with which to monitor the neuroplasticity induced by the MBNR intervention.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)20-32
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology
  • 3112 Neurosciences
  • 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
  • 6131 Theatre, dance, music, other performing arts

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