Music Decreases Need for Sedation in Critical Care

From a study by Paugam-Burtz, Catherine, and Mantz, Jean:

The article focuses on the potential use of musical therapy as a sedative-sparing adjuvant therapy in critically ill patients. It rates the electroencephalographic recordings as poorly informative because it was found that cortical activity was in contrast to the subcortical activity being depressed by propofol. In effect, the soft and mild characters of the sound likely played a pivotal sedative-sparing effect ‘.[emphasis added]

There are some interesting assumptions at play here. One is that an increase or decrease in cortical activity is somehow related to sedative effect. Another is that the EEG recordings are poorly informative because the results are not what the researchers expected (at least, I believe that is what the study authors are stating). On the contrary, how many of us with pain have been able to distract ourselves by keeping our minds busy?

In any case, the sedative effect of the “soft and mild” music worked to decrease sedation necessary in critically ill patients. That in itself is a good thing, and not to be dismissed lightly. But let’s do some more studying before we assume that we know what is going on!

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