Published online Mar 22, 2015. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v5.i1.68
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.
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.