Patients recovering from a stroke may progress quicker if they listen to music, according to research.
Those who listened to music of their choice for a few hours each day were found to have progressed in verbal memory and attention to performing mental tasks.
Some 60 patients who had suffered a stroke were recruited for the study, published in the journal Brain, after they were admitted to hospital.
Each was randomly assigned to a music group, a language group, or a control group.
The music and language groups listened every day to music or audio books respectively for two months while the control group received no listening material during the same period.
Teppo Sarkamo, lead author of the study at the University of Helsinki, said: "We found that three months after the stroke, verbal memory improved from the first week post-stroke by 60% in music listeners, by 18% in audio book listeners and by 29% in non-listeners.
"Similarly, focused attention - the ability to control and perform mental operations and resolve conflicts among responses - improved by 17% in music listeners, but no improvement was observed in audio book listeners and non-listeners."
He said those listening to music were also less depressed and confused.
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"I quite agree, as a results of my study about music intervention in Indonesia for patients with ventilator support were significant decrease the value of anxiety and physiological responses" - Suhartini Ismail
"I have seen babies listening to classical music suddenly relax and really appear to enjoy the music and calmness, so I feel sure it must be advantageous" - Mary Jackson, Harlow
"Whole-heartedly. I have had three nervous breakdowns in the past due to severe stress in 1981/93. Elvis' rock and spiritual songs kept me company at that time" - Name and address supplied
"I know from my own experience, backround music helps to put problems in perspective" - Miriam Ben-Ezra, Carmel, Israel
"Read the work of Oliver Sacks, especially his book Musicophilia" - Name and address supplied
"Yes, not only does music give you something to focus on, it helps relax you, and is relatable" - Elizabeth F, San Antonio, TX