Postconcussive symptoms including dizziness, anxiety, sleep issues and irritability are difficult to treat. A new study has shown that acoustic stimulation of the brain could help relieve persistent symptoms in people who have experienced mild traumatic brain injury.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, was conducted on included 106 military service members, veterans, or their spouses with persistent symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury three months to 10 years ago.
The findings indicated that sound stimulation is associated with marked improvement in postconcussive symptoms. However, listening to acoustic stimulation based on brain electrical activity, which was part of this study, may not improve symptoms, brain function, or heart rate variability more than randomly generated, computer-engineered acoustic stimulation, the statement explained. However, further research is required to better understand how it can help.
“Postconcussive symptoms have proven very difficult to treat, and the degree of improvement seen in this study is virtually unheard of, though further research is needed to identify what elements are key to its success,” corresponding author Michael J Roy said in a statement.
Sound therapy is often used to decrease stress, enable relaxation, and calm the mind. In line with the findings of this study, previous research has also shown that sound can be used to aid treatment of various symptoms and conditions. For instance, a new study, published in Frontiers of Pain Research in October, found that a patient’s favourite music strongly reduced pain intensity and unpleasantness by alleviating their perception of pain.
In another study published in January, researchers from the University of Michigan found that noninvasive sound waves break apart tumours and trigger an immune response in mice. This treatment exposes cancer cell markers that had previously been hidden from the body's defences. This could potentially offer treatment without the harmful effects of chemotherapy, the researchers said in a press statement. This study was published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.
Research has also expanded to understand how music can be used in medical scenarios. A study, led by the journal Clinical Nursing Research, suggested that music-listening interventions could make medicines more effective. The pilot study, conducted on 12 patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, showed that people who listened to their favourite music reported a reduction in their nausea severity and distress, according to a Science Daily report.