Listening to pleasant music could help restore impaired vision in stroke patients, UK research suggests.
Up to 60% of stroke patients develop impaired visual awareness - a condition known as "visual neglect". They lose the ability to track objects in their visual field on the side opposite to where their brain has been damaged by the stroke.The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study suggests music can help ease the problem. It is caused by damage to areas of the brain critical for the integration of vision, attention and action - not the areas responsible for sight.
In extreme cases, patients with visual neglect may eat only the food on the right side of their plate, or shave only half of their face. The latest study looked at three patients who had lost awareness of half of their field of vision. They completed tasks under three conditions: while listening to music they liked, music they did not like, and in silence.
All three patients could identify coloured shapes and red lights in their depleted side of vision much more accurately while they were listening to music of their choice.