Oral Communication

Can preferred music boost cognition in patients with disorders of consciousness ?

Prof Jacques LUAUTÉa, Mr Fabien PERRINb

a CHU de Lyon, PAM de Rééducation, b Equipe Cognition Auditive et Psychoacoustique, Centre de recherche en neurosciences de Lyon, CNRS UMR5292, inserm U1028, Université Lyon 1.

Background: In the last decade, several studies have shown the favorable influence of music on cognitive functions in normals and brain damaged patients. Among clinical applications in neurological rehabilitation, recent works suggests the utility of musical stimulation in awakening patients to improve detection of conscious processes or boost communication abilities (for a review see Magee et al. 2005).

However, the evidence remains low, based on single-case studies. The majority of these studies did not use quantified measures and control condition. Several controlled studies have been developed with the Auditory Cognition and Psychoacoustics (CAP) Team, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center.

Material and methods: The purpose of the first study was to evaluate the effect of music on the detection of cognitive markers. Event-related potentials to the patient’s first name were recorded in two conditions: when the patient’s own name was preceded by a preferred music (music condition) or by a continuous song (control condition) (Castro et al. 2015). Thirteen patients with disorders of consciousness were included in this study. Results showed that a P300 component of the evoked potentials was more frequently detected in the music condition as compared to the control condition.

In another study, the effect of a preferred song on the relational behaviour was compared to that of a continuous sound. Six patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) were included in this study (Verger et al. 2014). Results showed that responsiveness of MCS patients was significantly enhanced in the music condition as compared to the control condition.

Discussion: These results confirmed that preferred music can improve the detection of cognitive processes and communication abilities in some patients with disorders of consciousness. Autobiographical and emotional components of the preferred music could explain these beneficial effects.

Références :

Castro et al. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. ahead of print.

Magee et al. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1337 (2015) 256-262.

Verger et al. Rev Neurol. 2014 Nov;170(11):693-9.

Keywords : Music, disorder of consciousness, evoked potentials