Wendy L. Magee, Dee Gray, Marcela Lichtensztejn, Julian O'Kelly

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Meaningful emotional and personalized musical experiences can arouse several
neural networks related to consciousness, enabling the recruitment and coordination of brain regions in disorders of consciousness (DOC), thus reaching a person’s communicative musicality (Lichtensztejn et al., in press). However,
the evidence for music therapy (MT) to address clinical needs in DOC remains
sparse and based in expert opinion (Magee, 2005). Without adequate
evidence for its effects, it is difficult to determine best practice to guide MT
interventions. Measurement issues are central to this topic, as measuring
responsiveness and awareness in this population is confounded by the
complexity of the patient group. . Interventions Music therapy offers a unique contribution to compliment standardised assessments of awareness more reliant on language processing (O’Kelly & Magee, 2013). Live music seems to be a crucial stimulus to trigger patients’ observable behavioural responses. Recent research compared MT methods using live music with other musical and non-musical stimulation in vegetative state (VS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) patients. The findings support the use of MT for improving arousal, selective attention and neuroplasticity in both (O’Kelly et al., 2013). Results found significantly increased blink rate for preferred music for VS patients.
Measurement Research has identified the need for a variety of assessment tools to be used to encourage responses indicative of awareness in DOC patients (O’Kelly & Magee, 2013) and the value of music therapists working as integral part of interdisciplinary teams is well documented (O’Connor and Fearn, 2008; Magee & Baker, 2009). MT assessment not only can contribute for a differential diagnosis (Lichtensztejn et al., in press; Magee, 2005) but also can provide sensitive data about the patient’s potential for rehabilitation and about what areas of functioning will likely improve over the course of interdisciplinary treatment. An important focus in current research with DOC populations is in developing and standardizing MT specific measures as well as testing the clinical utility of nonmusic standardized measures for demonstrating change during MT with DOC.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14. World Congress of Music Therapy
EditorsJ. Fachner, G. Tucek, P. Kern
Number of pages2
Volume10 (1)
Place of PublicationKrems
PublisherMusic Therapy Today
Publication dateJul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event14th World Cogress of Music Therapy - Krems University, Krems, Austria
Duration: 7 Jul 201412 Jul 2014


Conference14th World Cogress of Music Therapy
LocationKrems University


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