Music to liver by

Music has many profound effects on human beings. You only have to witness the extraordinary behaviour that takes place at some concerts to know that, although it could be that factors other than pure music are involved there. At a very real and measurable level though music has been shown to reduce stress, promote relaxation, reduce pain, and have significant psychological effects. Now a new study has shown that music can also be used to reduce the chances of a body rejecting a transplanted organ.

Music has been used to reduce anxiety after heart attacks or to reduce nausea during bone marrow transplantation. The suggestion is that music can act via the parasympathetic nervous system which is the branch of the nervous system that governs unconscious processes like digestion.

Bringing this together, some researchers decided to investigate whether music could influence survival after heart transplants in mice. They found that both opera and classical music increased the time before transplanted organs began to fail. New age music and single frequency monotones did not have this effect. Unfortunately, neither Bob Dylan or Wolfmother were tested.

The opera and classically exposed mice had lower levels of the immune chemicals interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma. They also had increased levels of the anti-inflammatory chemicals IL-4 and IL-10. The music exposed mice also had higher numbers of CD4+ and CD25+ cells which control the immune response in the periphery of your body.

In essence, by regulating the immune system, music is reducing the chance of the body rejecting the transplanted organ.

There you are then, not only does music have charms to soothe the savage beast, it also has powers to soothe the transplanted organ. Your best bet surely, although not operatic, would have to be a Bach Organ Concerto?

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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