December 22, 2011
Posted by Joan V. Gallos
NPR had a fascinating interview on Science Friday with Oliver Sacks (professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and author of 10 books on the mysteries of the human mind including my favorite Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain), Connie Tomaino (executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function at the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services in the Bronx), Joke Bradt (associate professor in the creative arts therapies department at Drexel University in Philadelphia), and Andrew Rossetti (music therapist in the radiation oncology department at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York).
The program explored the use of music for responding to a host of complex medical and neurological challenges, like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, the aftermath of strokes and brain injury, autism, stress, and more. The impact was amazing.
Gabby Giffords, for example, regained her capacity to speak after her traumatic brain injury by singing the lyrics of her favorite songs – and you can hear Gabby’s spirited rendition of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” [Salsa dancing and the Houston Symphony helped, too.] The program also provides a music therapy demonstration and why music therapy is more than just listening to music.
Made me think about changing careers – or at least, singing a happy song. The human mind has tremendous capacity for healing with music – and we want to remember that when we need it for ourselves or loved ones!
Sacks also has a new book out that I’m hoping to find in my holiday stocking: The Mind’s Eye.
Quote’s Amazon: With compassion and insight, Dr. Oliver Sacks again illuminates the mysteries of the brain . . . and shows us that medicine is both an art and a science, and that our ability to imagine what it is to see with another person’s mind is what makes us truly human.
May we all learn the grace and compassion to better see the world through another’s mind! Happy holidays to you and yours.