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Front Neurol. 2014 Mar 24;5:34. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00034. eCollection 2014.

Music-based cognitive remediation therapy for patients with traumatic brain injury.

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Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neurosciences Laboratory, Department of Clinical Psychology, Neurobiology Research Center, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) , Bangalore , India.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the common causes of disability in physical, psychological, and social domains of functioning leading to poor quality of life. TBI leads to impairment in sensory, motor, language, and emotional processing, and also in cognitive functions such as attention, information processing, executive functions, and memory. Cognitive impairment plays a central role in functional recovery in TBI. Innovative methods such as music therapy to alleviate cognitive impairments have been investigated recently. The role of music in cognitive rehabilitation is evolving, based on newer findings emerging from the fields of neuromusicology and music cognition. Research findings from these fields have contributed significantly to our understanding of music perception and cognition, and its neural underpinnings. From a neuroscientific perspective, indulging in music is considered as one of the best cognitive exercises. With "plasticity" as its veritable nature, brain engages in producing music indulging an array of cognitive functions and the product, the music, in turn permits restoration and alters brain functions. With scientific findings as its basis, "neurologic music therapy" (NMT) has been developed as a systematic treatment method to improve sensorimotor, language, and cognitive domains of functioning via music. A preliminary study examining the effect of NMT in cognitive rehabilitation has reported promising results in improving executive functions along with improvement in emotional adjustment and decreasing depression and anxiety following TBI. The potential usage of music-based cognitive rehabilitation therapy in various clinical conditions including TBI is yet to be fully explored. There is a need for systematic research studies to bridge the gap between increasing theoretical understanding of usage of music in cognitive rehabilitation and application of the same in a heterogeneous condition such as TBI.


cognitive rehabilitation; music cognition; music therapy; neurologic music therapy; neuromusicology; traumatic brain injury

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