BENGALURU: While music can uplift moods when one feels low, it also proved to be therapeutic to two hypoxia patients who were treated at the Clinical Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Centre and Music Cognition laboratory at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). The duo suffered from hypoxic brain injury when they tried to commit suicide by hanging.
Hypoxic brain injury occurs due to the reduction in oxygen to the brain. Survivors of hanging or strangulation suffer from long-term neuropathology. The survivors, in most cases, will be left with many neurological conditions including seizures and sensorimotor function disorders.
In the first case, a 25-year-old dentist, who had a failed marriage, tried to hang herself. She dealt with amnesia, two seizures, irritability, angry outbursts, disinhibition and slowness in activities. A 28-year-old medical representative who had a failed marriage and tried to hang herself too, suffered from the same symptoms. What helped these patients was music-based cognitive remediation therapy.
Dr Shantala Hegde, associate professor in Neuropsychology and faculty in-charge of Music Cognition Laboratory said, “Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) had been developed as treatment to improve language, sensorimotor and cognitive domains of functioning. Hypoxia is a very complex condition, and the psychological and neurocognitive deficits are quite challenging to address.”
“We went forward with NMT in cognitive rehabilitation which would show positive results,” she added.
Musical intervention methods were used. Self-chosen music was also used to treat amnesia, added Dr Hegde. The patients were treated in a hospital and at home to close to two years after which they improved significantly.
The goal in neuropsychological rehabilitation is to help patients revert back to normal functioning or at least near-normal functioning. “The dentist is now practising under supervision while the medical practitioner works as a teacher. Music can definitely cure a person,” said Dr Hegde.