Singing May Be Good Medicine for Parkinson’s Patients

​Voice coaching appears to help swallowing and breathing, study finds.

Singing? To benefit people with Parkinson’s disease? It just may help, a researcher says.”We’re not trying to make them better singers, but to help them strengthen the muscles that control swallowing and respiratory function, said Elizabeth Stegemoller, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.

Singing uses the same muscles as swallowing and breathing control, two functions affected by Parkinson’s disease. Singing significantly improves the muscle activities. Other benefits noted by patients, their families and caregivers include improvements in mood, stress and depression.

Parkinson‘s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder. Nearly one million Americans live with the disease. The cause isn’t known, and there is no cure at present. But there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage symptoms, according to the Parkinson‘s Disease Foundation.

Symptoms can include tremors of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; slowness of movement; limb rigidity; and problems with balance and coordination.

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