There's new hope for victims of stroke this week. Researchers have found that listening to music can improve their seeing abilities.
Most stroke victims suffer a condition known as 'visual neglect', where they just stare without properly focussing on an object.
But researchers from Imperial College London have found that stroke victims who listen to pleasant music can improve their ability to see and focus.
The research team tested three patients with visual neglect following a stroke who all listened to music they liked, music they didn't like and silence. While listening to music they liked, patients were reporting a 65 per cent improvement in their ability to see, and only a 15 per cent improvement when they listened to music they didn't like.
All three could see coloured shapes and red lights, which they couldn't see before, while they listened to pleasant music. The researchers think that music generates positive emotions, which may improve the brain's signals.
(Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 23, 2009; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0811681106).