If you're unlucky enough to have a stroke, start listening to music for a couple of hours every day. It's the best way to recover and to regain your faculties, new research has discovered.
But it's important that you begin listening to music immediately after a stroke, and before changes in the brain caused by the stroke can start to take effect.
Researchers in Finland tested music therapy on a group of 60 patients who had just recently suffered a stroke. They either listened to music, or an audio-book, or nothing at all, and the music group demonstrated a 60 per cent improvement in verbal memory after three months, compared with just 18 per cent in the audio-book group, and 29 per cent in the non-listeners.
Focused attention, when we control and perform mental functions, improved by 17 per cent in the music and not at all in either of the other two groups.
(Source: Brain, 2008; 131: 866-76).