Parkinson's research shows music therapy may help patients more than drugs

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects an area of the brain that controls movement, including movements associated with breathing and swallowing. Medication is available, but it's expensive, often has side-effects, and isn't always effective. That's where Elizabeth Stegemoller's research comes in. Stegemoller has spent years researching the connections between music and Parkinson's disease. An associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, Stegemoller has led a study of Parkinson's patients involved in a singing group. This study showed that singing helped patients' respiratory and swallow control, which helps prevent aspiration pneumonia, a leading cause of death for people with Parkinson’s disease. Now Stegemoller is researching some of the other positive effects of music therapy, including helping other movements, stress levels and even depression and anxiety. For more information, visit