Effects of music production on cortical plasticity within cognitive rehabilitation of patients with mild traumatic brain injury
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBrain Injury. 2018, 32 (5), 634-643. 10.1080/02699052.2018.1431842
Objective: We explored the effects of playing the piano on patients with cognitive impairment after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and, addressed the question if this approach would stimulate neural networks in re-routing neural connections and link up cortical circuits that had been functional inhibited due to disruption of brain tissue. Functional neuroimaging scans (fMRI) and neuropsychological tests were performed pre–post intervention. Method: Three groups participated, one mTBI group (n = 7), two groups of healthy participants, one with music training (n = 11), one baseline group without music (n = 12). The music groups participated in 8 weeks music-supported intervention. Results: The patient group revealed training-related neuroplasticity in the orbitofrontal cortex. fMRI results fit well with outcome from neuropsychological tests with significant enhancement of cognitive performance in the music groups. Ninety per cent of mTBI group returned to work post intervention. Conclusion: Here, for the first time, we demonstrated behavioural improvements and functional brain changes after 8 weeks of playing piano on patients with mTBI having attention, memory and social interaction problems. We present evidence for a causal relationship between musical training and reorganisation of neural networks promoting enhanced cognitive performance. These results add a novel music-supported intervention within rehabilitation of patients with cognitive deficits following mTBI.