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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 1, 2018

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Singing may reduce stress, improve motor function for people with Parkinson’s disease

Singing may provide benefits beyond improving respiratory and swallow control in people with Parkinson’s disease, according to new data from Iowa State University researchers.

The results from the pilot study revealed improvements in mood and motor symptoms, as well as reduced physiological indicators of stress. Elizabeth Stegemöller, an assistant professor of kinesiology, cautions this is preliminary data, but says the improvements among singing participants are similar to benefits of taking medication. 

“We see the improvement every week when they leave singing group. It’s almost like they have a little pep in their step. We know they’re feeling better and their mood is elevated,” Stegemöller said. “Some of the symptoms that are improving, such as finger tapping and the gait, don’t always readily respond to medication, but with singing they’re improving.”

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