Friday, 9 January 2015

Music can ease pain after surgery: study...........

Listening to just 30 minutes of songs - or audio books - can have a significant reduction in pain after major surgery in kids, Indian-origin researchers have found. 

Northwestern University researchers asked children, ages nine to 14, to choose from a playlist of top music in different genres including pop, country, rock and classical. Short audio books were another option in the study. 

A strategy to control post-surgical pain without medication is important because opioid analgesics - most commonly used to control post-surgical pain - can cause breathing problems in children. 

Thus, caregivers usually limit the amount of opiods prescribed, and children's pain is not well controlled. 

"Audio therapy is an exciting opportunity and should be considered by hospitals as an important strategy to minimise pain in children undergoing major surgery," said study senior author Dr Santhanam Suresh. 

"This is inexpensive and doesn't have any side effects," Suresh said. 

Suresh conducted the study with his daughter, Sunitha Suresh, who designed it when she was a biomedical engineering student at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science with a minor in music cognition. 

Santhanam believes the audio-therapy helped thwart a secondary pathway in the prefrontal cortex involved in the memory of pain. 

The therapy worked regardless of a patient's initial pain score. 

"It didn't matter whether their pain score was lower or higher when they were first exposed to the audio therapy," Santhanam said. 

"It worked for everyone and can also be used in patients who have had ambulatory surgery and are less likely to receive opiods at home," said Santhanam. 

"After the study, several patients ended up bringing in their iPods and listening to their own music. They hadn't thought of it before," said Sunitha, now a fourth-year medical student at Johns Hopkins Medical School. 

The equal effectiveness of the audiobooks was an unexpected finding, she said. 

In the study, about 60 pediatric patients at Lurie Children's Hospital received pain evaluations prior to and after receiving the audio therapy. 

They reported their pain levels based on identifying facial images such as a grimace or tears or a happy face to illustrate how they were feeling. 

The children were divided into three groups; one heard 30 minutes of music of their choice, one heard 30 minutes of stories of their choice and one listened to 30 minutes of silence via noise-cancelling headphones. 

The patients in the music and story groups had a significant reduction in pain. The patients who heard silence did not experience a change in pain. 

The study was published in the journal Pediatric Surgery.