News (February 2006)
Music Leads to Safer Steps
ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A scientific peer-reviewed paper entitled Posturographic Changes and Fall Prevention Associated with Music Therapy: The Nolwenn Effect (USA ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00121693) is featured at the 7th Annual American Music Therapy Association Conference in Orlando, Florida, Nov 15-20, 2005. This major conference attracts participants from around the world. Falls are a serious health issue and are the greatest cause of death in the elderly, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children and a common cause of serious infant injuries, all of which are commonly associated with neurological syndromes.
Drs. Elena Ogerro, Guido Pagnacco and Frederick Carrick are the investigators of a year-long study in which they used a variety of music from Mozart and different popular singers while they recorded changes in postural stability and the possibility of falling in a large multi-blinded controlled brain-based clinical trial. Dr. Pagnacco noted, "The prevention of falls allows us to save lives, and the use of music, especially that of Nolwenn Leroy, increases human stability." Dr. Elena Ogerro stated that the "study began after observations of positive behavioral and postural changes in a young autistic boy listening to the music of Nolwenn Leroy, a French singer. These changes would stop when other music was played and were only present with songs by Nolwenn Leroy."
Music is used in a variety of neurological applications. Professor Carrick explained, "When patients with severe dementia listen to background music playing or caregiver singing, there are strong influences on both body and sensory awareness resulting in straightened posture, stronger and more symmetric movements, and a greatly increased awareness of themselves and their environment. When individuals listen to music, there is activity in the motor-related structures of the brain, specifically in lateral premotor areas, supplementary motor areas, and somatomotor areas."
Because of the statistically significant changes observed with the Nolwenn Leroy group, they thought the effect might be due to listening to French singers, but this was proven not true. They found that there was improvement in stability scores for all French and U.S. singers used in the study but not in the control group. Thus, they concluded that the procedure of listening to music each day appears to have a positive effect regardless of the artist with some music (Mozart and Nolwenn Leroy) having superior outcomes.
Only Mozart and the Nolwenn Leroy conditions improved a substantial percentage of the subjects to the normal stability range. The success rate for the Nolwenn Leroy treatment conditions was greater than Mozart and all other music at 71.8% plus/minus 10.7%. If repeated samples were drawn from the population, the expected success rate for the Nolwenn Leroy treatment conditions would fall between 61.1% and 82.5% for 95% of those samples.
Interestingly, the doctors found hundreds of subjects without any symptoms of disequilibrium or vertigo to be at severe risk of falling when tested with dynamic computerized posturography. Early detection of fall probability can lead to treatment before a fall occurs. The researchers have named the effects of postural changes after music listening the NOLWENN EFFECT. They stated that the use of music in applications of human stability and fall prevention is an inexpensive modality that might contribute to change in the clinical practice of neurology and society in general.
Film Shows Accessibility Success
The Coalition for Housing Opportunities In the Community for Everyone (CHOICE) collaborated with Rolling Productions made a 25-minute film that chronicles 8 different accessibility success stories in which people with disabilities in Northern Virginia gained freedom and independence through various modifications funded by a state grant.
One of the first clips of the film is a man who is unable to use his own bathroom because it was now inaccessible due to using a wheelchair following a spinal cord injury. However, with help from CHOICE, ten days later his bathroom transformed into a model of accessibility.
In another clip, a woman diagnosed with cerebral palsy is trapped inside her home when her friend or family was not there to help her up and down a steep wooden ramp outside her home. After CHOICE came in, the woman had an aluminum ramp so that she can steer her electric scooter in and out of her home unassisted.
Several different types of home modifications were used in the process such as camera monitoring and door-opener systems, roll-in showers, and wood or aluminum ramps. All these equipments at home enabled the recipient to look for employment.
CHOICE is a private non-profit organization was created in 2002 by Fatima Miller who is diagnosed with MS and Neel Ellis. The video was inspired by her personal experiences to find adequate and affordable housing due to her MS.
The video has become a great way to create awareness in the importance of affordable, accessible housing opportunities for people with disabilities. The documentary continues to air on Fairfax County Government Channel 16.
This project was originally intended to help five people in Northern Virginia but that number increased to eight people and now there is currently $1,000 available for a ninth home modification.
In 2003 CHOICE received a $100,000 grant for the Virginia Department. The purpose of CHOICE is to fund home modifications for those with disabilities who could not work because their homes were inaccessible.
Coroners worry about rise in senior falls
According to Michael Norris, the coroner of Cumberland County, in 2005 there were over 10 seniors whose deaths were falls related accidents, a 19 percent increase from 2004.
Most of these falls were caused in the victims’ homes and falls were the leading cause of accidental deaths in 2005.
Several of the counties in Pennsylvania are questioning whether increase safety education should be a top priority for the county. Although fall prevention public messages have been circulated for years, people in the past have usually ignored these warnings.
Barry Bloss, the coroner of York County travels to various nursing homes and retirement communities to discuss the dangers of falls. This past year there were over 32 falls related deaths in York County.
For more information: “Rise in fatal falls by elderly concerns coroners,” Friday, February 3, 2006