Fort Wayne Philharmonic looks at music’s impact on Parkinson’s

Posted on: January 11, 2011

“An amazing thing happens to Russ Eplett when he attends Fort Wayne Philharmonic concerts,” writes Cindy Larson in Monday’s (1/10) News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana). “The music appears to quell the symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease. ‘When I sit down in the Embassy and my hand is shaking, as soon as the music starts, it stops,’ he said. Eplett shared his observation with Philharmonic President and CEO J.L. Nave III. That led to interest by the Philharmonic’s Innovation Task Force. The end result is a pilot study the task force will conduct in collaboration with [the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne] music therapy department and the Fort Wayne Parkinson’s Support Group. The study will look at the impact of music on Parkinson’s, a neurological disease. To test the impact of its music, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic will perform three concerts at IPFW’s Rhinehart Recital Hall featuring string, woodwind and brass instruments. About 35 people with Parkinson’s will attend the concerts and fill out a simple one-page survey using a Likert scale to assess their symptoms before, during and after the performances. … According to Nancy Jackson, director of IPFW’s music therapy program, the effect of music on Parkinson’s disease hasn’t been studied before. This pilot study could be a launching point for further investigation.”

Posted January 11, 2011