Listening to your favorite music may be good for your cardiovascular system. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have shown for the first time that the emotions aroused by joyful music have a healthy effect on blood vessel function.
Music, selected by study participants because it made them feel good and brought them a sense of joy, caused tissue in the inner lining of blood vessels to dilate (or expand) in order to increase blood flow.
This healthy response matches what the same researchers found in a 2005 study of laughter. On the other hand, when study volunteers listened to music they perceived as stressful, their blood vessels narrowed, producing a potentially unhealthy response that reduces blood flow. The results of the study, conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center, were presented at the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association, on November 11, 2008, in New Orleans.
“We had previously demonstrated that positive emotions, such as laughter, were good for vascular health. So, a logical question was whether other emotions, such as those evoked by music, have a similar effect,” says principal investigator Michael Miller, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We knew that individual people would react differently to different types of music, so in this study, we enabled participants to select music based upon their likes and dislikes.”
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Dr. Miller’s funding sources include the American Heart Association, Veterans Administration and the National Institutes of Health. “Positive Emotions and the Endothelium: Does Joyful Music Improve Vascular Health?” Miller M, Beach V, Mangano C, Vogel RA. Oral Presentation. American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, 11/11/2008.
Source: Bill Seiler University of Maryland Medical Center