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Published: 2012/12/27

Mickey Hart Helping Neuroscientist Study Rhythm’s Effect on the Brain

Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart has teamed up with Dr. Adam Gazzaley to study the neuroscience of rhythm and to better understand how it can be used for therapeutic purposes. Time reports that Hart and Gazzaley, who is the director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the University of California San Francisco, are trying to figure out if certain rhythms can help wounded brains enter states of consciousness that they can no longer sustain on their own. Studies have pointed to the possibility that music therapy can improve body movement abilities following a stroke, while helping with pain and anxiety. Hart and Gazzaley would like to find out why this is the case, and the two are hoping that one day doctors will be able to “prescribe” certain rhythms to help people who are suffering from a variety of ailments such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, brain injuries, anxiety, depression and ADHD.

Hart and Gazzaley presented some of their findings to a crowd at the AARP Convention in New Orleans back in September. Part of the presentation included a live visualization of Hart’s brain activity, which was displayed on giant screens throughout the room. A video of their demonstration at the AARP Convention can be viewed above. You can learn more about Gazzaley and Hart’s work here.

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