Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Mar 22, 2015; 5(1): 68-78
Published online Mar 22, 2015. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v5.i1.68
Effects of music and music therapy on mood in neurological patients
Alfredo Raglio, Lapo Attardo, Giulia Gontero, Silvia Rollino, Elisabetta Groppo, Enrico Granieri
Alfredo Raglio, Lapo Attardo, Giulia Gontero, Silvia Rollino, Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Alfredo Raglio, Elisabetta Groppo, Enrico Granieri, Department of Biomedical and Specialistic Surgical Sciences, Section of Neurology, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
Author contributions: Raglio A developed the study design concept, contributed to analysis and interpretation of data and wrote the manuscript; Attardo L, Gontero G and Rollino S contributed to acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data and to draft the paper; Groppo E and Granieri E analyzed and interpreted the data and revised the manuscript; all authors approved final version of the paper.
Conflict-of-interest: The Authors have not any competing interests to declare and no funding was received for this research.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Alfredo Raglio, MT, PhD, Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, University of Pavia, Via S. Boezio 24, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
Telephone: +39-0382-593797 Fax: +39-0382-593797
Received: September 26, 2014
Peer-review started: September 28, 2014
First decision: December 17, 2014
Revised: January 27, 2015
Accepted: February 9, 2015
Article in press: February 11, 2015
Published online: March 22, 2015

Mood disorder and depressive syndromes represent a common comorbid condition in neurological disorders with a prevalence rate that ranges between 20% and 50% of patients with stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Notwithstanding, these conditions are often under-diagnosed and under-treated in the clinical practice and negatively affect the functional recovery, the adherence to treatment, the quality of life, and even the mortality risk. In addition, a bidirectional association between depression and neurological disorders may be possible being that depressive syndromes may be considered as a risk factor for certain neurological diseases. Despite the large amount of evidence regarding the effects of music therapy (MT) and other musical interventions on different aspects of neurological disorders, no updated article reviewing outcomes such as mood, emotions, depression, activity of daily living and so on is actually available; for this reason, little is known about the effectiveness of music and MT on these important outcomes in neurological patients. The aim of this article is to provide a narrative review of the current literature on musical interventions and their effects on mood and depression in patients with neurological disorders. Searching on PubMed and PsycInfo databases, 25 studies corresponding to the inclusion criteria have been selected; 11 of them assess the effects of music or MT in Dementia, 9 explore the efficacy on patients with Stroke, and 5 regard other neurological diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/motor neuron disease, Chronic quadriplegia, Parkinson’s Disease, and Acquired Brain dysfunctions. Selected studies are based on relational and rehabilitative music therapy approaches or concern music listening interventions. Most of the studies support the efficacy of MT and other musical interventions on mood, depressive syndromes, and quality of life on neurological patients.

Keywords: Music, Listening, Music therapy, Epilepsy, Narrative review, Stroke, Mood, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Depression, Parkinson, Dementia, Multiple sclerosis, Neurological disease, Neurological disorders, Acquired brain injury

Core tip: We conducted a search on PubMed and PsychInfo databases identifying 25 Randomized Controlled Trials or Clinical Controlled Trials regarding the effects of Music Therapy and other musical interventions on mood disorders in neurological patients. Although the Jadad score evaluation revealed a generally poor methodological quality of the research protocols, we found that almost all studies supported the effectiveness of musical interventions in improving mood, depression, quality of life, functional recovery, and neuromotor performances. Therefore Music Therapy and other musical approaches seem to be effective, inexpensive and non-invasive, being that no adverse side-effects were observed.