Take Rande Gedaliah, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2003 and found she had muscle spasms, balance problems and difficulty walking. The disease eventually led to a serious fall in the shower. Things were looking pretty grim until one day she found out she could listen to music and suddenly be able to move with ease, the type of music determining the speed she walks at. We Are the Champions let her walk a slow clip and Born in the USA made her move faster still. Anything by Nickelback sent her spiraling into a rage.
Ancient warriors listened to their Nickelback equivalent, thrashing and scraping bones on rocks,
to produce a similar effect before combat.
How Does it Work?
When you're locked in your room, listening to your old N'Sync CDs, have you ever noticed your foot tapping on its own? That's not just because you have terrible taste in music. It's because the portions of the brain which deal with rhythm and movement are so automated that it requires no conscious attention to move to a beat. It's like your brain going behind your back to get things done because it knows it can't rely on you to bust an appropriate move when you hear "Bye Bye Bye."
This movement isn't handled by the same process as walking up the stairs or hilariously farting with your armpit. Suddenly, patients with bradykinesia--an inability to initiate movement--can move instantly as their brain interprets the music and sends movement signals to their legs, essentially tricking their bodies into moving. We'll say that again for you: Music can trick your broken, unresponsive body into obedience. Think about it: How many times have you thrown your hands in the air? When that happened, did you just not care? Science says that's because you had no control.
Music also helps other Parkinson's-related issues, including loss of balance and spasms. It's also been found that playing music creates an improvement in people with the disease, and drum circles are being used as treatment in music therapy groups, presumably because drums are cheaper than fancy-ass medical equipment, anyway.
When hippies become doctors.
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For more things science is scratching its head about, check out 6 Things Your Body Does Every Day That Science Can't Explain. Or find out why you should punch your body right now, in Your Body Hates You: 6 Gruesome Disorders Anyone Can Get.
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