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Musical Notes with Melissa: Music-based Interventions

Melissa Pate

If you read the Baltimore Sun, you might have seen an article from May 6, 2022, about Johns Hopkins University’s “Human Aging Project.” It is an initiative to help those who are aging and dealing with disabilities have a better quality of life.

One of the projects scholars is Dr. Alex Pantelyet, an assistant professor of neurology and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine. Dr. Pantelyet came to Kensington Park back in 2019 for a CEU presentation, in collaboration with me and our previous Director of Creative Arts Therapies. He is well-versed in the relationship between music and the brain, as well as how rhythm and music can be medicinal, especially for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s/dementia patients.

Dr. Pantelyet is testing a wearable device that uses rhythmic music to improve gait and mobility. There is already research that shows how rhythm affects gait, thanks in part to The Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy and their implementation of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS). RAS is the therapeutic application of rhythmic external cues to facilitate a normal gait pattern. The goal of the wearable device will be to “train people who listen to specific music and walk for 30 minutes a day. A sensor on the wearer’s shoes speeds up or slows down the rhythm with the walker’s speed.”

Dr. Pantelyet notes, “If we can reduce falls, that’s…the holy grail. There are no side effects to music-based interventions that embed rhythm.”

For more information on music therapy or brain wellness, contact Melissa Pate at mpate@kensingtonsl.com.

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