Background Studies with neurodegenerative disease indicates positive impact of Music Therapy (MT) to address dysphagia, because singing activates the same muscles that are involved in swallowing. MT could also potentially affect central brain-areas and enhance psychological well-being.
Aim Evaluate the impact and experience of MT to address dysphagia, cognitive function and psychological well-being in early stage of HD.
Method Mixed Method Convergent Parallel Design.
Techniques Two patients in early stage of HD underwent a 10-week MT-intervention containing vocal exercises to address muscles involved in swallowing. Participant’s musical preferences were used to enhance and preserve identity and optimize psychological well-being. The pre/posttest consisted of Video-fluoroscopy, fMRI, MoCA, HADS and RAND-36. The participants scored their emotional state before & after each session as well as self-reporting their dysphasic problems through SSQ. Session 1, 5 & 10 were video-taped and analyzed focusing on the therapist delivery of the intervention and the participant’s degree of mastery. One participant used the MT app ‘Alight’ in-between sessions. The participant’s experiences were documented through qualitative interviews.
Results Positive trend on muscles involved in swallowing from pre-post. Improvement in cognitive abilities & psychological well-being. Qualitative themes were ‘Increased self-esteem affecting participation in social contexts’ & ‘Increased energy’. The temporary results from the video-analysis indicates high level of mastery.
Conclusion MT seems well tolerated for addressing dysphagia, enhancing cognitive function and psychological well-being in early stage of HD. Still, the sample is too small to document any statistical effect, thus the pilot-study leads to a larger study in 2022.
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