25 Mar

By Rick McVicar      

  What if your doctor could give you a prescription to heal a brain disorder that tells you to practice a certain art form for a certain amount of time? Would you fill the prescription?   

  Prescribing art for brain health recovery is a goal found on the website of the NeuroArts Blueprint, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University and the Aspen Institute. The prescription goal is mentioned in a video featured on the site.  

   The NeuroArts Blueprint is a program designed to foster the use of the arts to heal such disorders as brain trauma, PTSD, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A clear focus is put on the need for rigorous scientific testing.

  “Neuroarts is the transdisciplinary study of how the arts and aesthetic experiences measurably change the body, brain and behavior,” the website states.  

   After the studies are completed, the goal is then to develop evidence-based practices to enhance health and well-being. The program brings together science, art and technology, the website adds.   

  The technology of brain imaging is being used to provide the scientific evidence for the arts to be used as tools of intervention for different brain disorders. 

   The NeuroArts Blueprint is meant to target different areas, according to Ruth Katz, speaking in the video. Those areas include research, education, funding and communications.  

  The video features performances by different groups to demonstrate how research is being put into practice. A choir of people with dementia and their caregivers is shown, along with dancers who have Parkinson’s Disorder. A female combat veteran who suffered brain trauma is shown quilting.   

  The story of NeuroArts Blueprint was recently featured in an NPR segment by Jon Hamilton, News KTOO, Feb. 19, 2022. In “Art and Music Seem to Help with Brain Disorders: Scientists Want to Know Why,” Hamilton talks about Marine veteran Michael Schneider.   

  After suffering a brain injury and a stroke related to his military duties, Schneider came to rely on playing a ukulele to calm his symptoms, which includes PTSD and seizures.  

   “Relearning music took away that fight-or-flight, that ingrained piece of how I trained,” Schneider is quoted as saying in Hamilton’s radio segment.   

  With the help of brain imaging technology, scientists may soon discover an evidence-based path of music or art treatment.   

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