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Music Therapy Aids Bone Marrow Transplant Patients

They began producing white blood cells sooner, study says

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Music hath charms to soothe the nausea and pain of people who've had bone marrow transplants.

So says a study to be published later this year in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

The University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center study found that bone marrow transplant patients who had music therapy reported less pain and nausea. The music therapy may even quicken the rate at which the new marrow starts producing blood cells, the study says.

The study included 42 people in the bone marrow transplant unit at the James F. Wilmot Cancer Center. The patients ranged in age from 5 to 65 years old and most were being treated for various types of cancer, including leukemias, lymphomas and solid tumors.

Music therapy was given to 23 of the patients after their bone marrow transplants, while 19 others in the control group received standard follow-up treatment after their transplants.

The patients who met two times a week for music-assisted relaxation and imagery reported much less pain and nausea on average than those in the control group.

In the group receiving music therapy, the average time it took for them to start producing their own white blood cells was 13.5 days, compared to 15.5 days in the control group. The length of time it takes for bone marrow transplant patients to begin producing white blood cells can be critical because that's when they're most vulnerable to infection.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about music therapy.

SOURCE: University of Rochester Medical Center, news release, July 30, 2003
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