President Harry Truman And “Harp Music Relaxes Babies” – January 2010

We wish all our readers a very Happy and Healthy New Year! In newspapers across the United States, Classical music is being used to motivate doctors while operating on patients, help patients relax during and after having surgery, help critically ill patients in intensive care units to mend, and soothe premature babies increasing their weight. Also included in our January 2010 article is the powerful story of Alma Rose, violin virtuoso,saving women’s lives during WW II through Classical music. No one is immune from the power of music.This month we have included Irma Bombeck’s Poem, Regrets “If I Had My Life to Live Over” and our Radio Show guest is President Harry Truman.

Madeline’s Musical One Minute Radio Show for January 2010

How does Classical Music play a part of President Harry Truman’s life and what instrument did he play? Click here for Your Radio Show

Question of the Month: Who was President Harry Truman?

Harry Truman was an excellent student in school and had a “love of reading, especially history, throughout his life. At the age of 8 he began to wear glasses and was told by the Optometrist not to break them and was careful not to play roughly. He began the piano when he was 10 years old. As a child, Harry would attend political meetings with his father. “By 14 years of age, Harry had read all the books in the Independence Public Library, plus the Bible three times.” http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1670.html  “After graduating from high school at Independence, he worked on a variety of jobs before managing his family’s farm from 1906 to 1917.” Harry Truman “wanted to go to College, but his family didn’t have the money to send him. As a young man his jobs included bank clerk, timekeeper, bookkeeper, mail room clerk, and postmaster. Truman wanted to attend West Point, but was not accepted because of poor eyesight.” He wanted to join and memorized the eye chart to get in. In 1905 he joined the Missouri National Guard and at the beginning of World War 1 and “served in the U.S. Army as an artillery battery commander in France.” He was known as a good leader of his men and brought them all home safely. In 1919 Truman mustered out with the rank of a Major. Truman in 1922 “entered local Democratic politics and was elected judge, commissioner, of Jackson County, Missouri with the support of Political leader Thomas J. Prendergast.” In 1934 “he was elected to the U.S. Senate.” He joined President Roosevelt as his Vice President on Roosevelt’s 1945 ticket. Truman was selected by Roosevelt “because of the work he had done saving the taxpayers millions of dollar during World War II.” Truman took office “when Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945.” http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1670.html Truman said, “The atom bomb was no “great decision. “It was merely another powerful weapon in the arsenal of righteousness.” Another famous quote of his was “The Buck Stops Here!”; “The President-(whoever he is)–has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” President Truman also said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” “Give ’em Hell Harry” was how many people remembered Truman, for his honesty and integrity. He was the only President to take office during a war and the first President to talk to the nation on television.” President Harry Truman was a lifelong musician, problem solver, and believed in service to others.

Story or Poem of the Month: Sent by Danny O., Irma Bombeck’s Regrets “If I Had My Life to Live Over” July 2009. http://www.snopes.com/glurge/bombeck.asp “Harp Music Relaxes Babies” (Nov. 22, 2009) by Big News.biz “Nothing calms a baby or soothes a tired parent like harp music! People have listened to harp music for thousands of years but new studies prove that the sound of the harp raises the level of melatonin.” http://www.bignews.biz/?id=824562&keys=baby-music-merry-miller

The following article on Health & Wellness from the Wall Street Journal was sent to us by Dr. Robert J. Frank., a Medical Doctor: “A Key for Unlocking Memories: Music Therapy Opens a Path to the Past for Alzheimer’s Patients; Creating a Personal Playlist (Nov. 17, 2009) by Melinda Beck from the Wall Street Journal. “Music does sooth the savage beast.” Playing the music that patients love best helps them remember. It is not a cure. The “growing evidence that listening to music can also help stimulate …lost memories and …help restore some cognitive function.” For over 30 years Dr. Concetta Tomaino, executive director of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function at Beth Abraham has researched and seen the power of music therapy for her patients. She says, “What I believe is happening is that by engaging very basic mechanisms of emotions and listening, music is stimulating dormant areas of the brain that haven’t been accessible due to degenerative disease.” Dr. Tomaino’s new program provides “iPods loaded with customized playlists” to benefit Alzheimer’s patients with a musical playlist for use at home . She says, “If someone loved opera or classical or jazz or religious music, or if they sang and danced when the family got together, we can recreate that music and help them relive those experiences.” “Ann Povodator, an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient in Boynton Beach, Fla., listens to her beloved opera and Yiddish songs every day on an iPod with her home health aide or her daughter when she comes to visit.” Marilyn Povodator, her daughter, says “We listen for at least a half-hour, and we talk afterwards. It seems to touch something deep within her.” “Caregivers or family members can use records or tapes at home, or program their own iPods. The institute provides suggested songs by era and genre on its Web site, http://www.imnf.org Twenty eight year old stroke victim, Everett Dixon, learned “to walk and use his hands again by listening to his favorite music every day on an iPod. “Trevor Gibbons, 52, who fell out of a fourth-floor construction site and suffered a crushed larynx, has become so entranced with music that he’s written 400 songs and cut four CDs.” Listening and participating in singing and moving to music can be a powerful tool for healing. Dr. Tomaino says, “If family members don’t know what music would be appropriate, think in generalizations. If a parent loved to go dancing in their teens, picking the most popular songs from that era tends to be pretty safe. Music from a person’s teenage years seems to be especially evocative of memories.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704538404574540163096944766.html

The following two articles tell the story of Alma Rose, an extraordinarily talented Jewish concert violinist, being sent to Auschwitz and saving the lives of 50 women musicians by developing an orchestra that performed at such a high level of performance for Nazi officers. Alma kept her musicians alive and received food needed for survival. Many of the women had little to no training, but Alma worked trained and protected them from the Nazis. Alma requested a stove for heating the barracks of the orchestra. When the Nazis wanted to remove a sick musician she told them they needed the musician to perform and could not do without her. The Nazis were planning to place the sick musician in the gas chamber. Alma Rose died at Auschwitz. Some felt she died of meningitis others that she was poisoned at a meal with Frau Schmidt who was jealous of Alma’s talent with the orchestra.

“Music as a Means of Survival: The Women’s Orchestra in Auschwitz” (1996) by Gabriele Knapp. http://www.feministische-studien.de/fileadmin/download/pdf/fem96_Translation_Knapp1.pdf “Remembering Alma Rose‘ and the Women’s Orchestra at Auschwitz” (Nov. 2009) by Kellie Dubel Brown from the American String Teacher. Alma Rose a concert violinist was sent to the concentration camp Auschwitz . “Musicial Strings Bind Psychiatrist and Her Patients” (Dec. 19, 2008) by Eve Bender from thePsychiatric News. Psychiatrist Mary Rorro, D.O. believes in the power of playing her violin and the viola for her patients. “On certain holidays her patients at the James J. Howard VA Outpatient Clinic in Brick, N.J., are treated to Rorro’s poignant musical performances, which serve as a different form of therapy than they are used to.” Dr. Rorro said during an interview for Psychiatric News ,”My music provides me with a different means of connecting with my patients, and it seems to be a transformative experience for them.”

“Musical Surgeon Examines the OR Soundtrack” (Dec. 7, 2009) by Carolyn Y. Johnson from the Boston .com. When Dr. Claudius Conrad , an accomplished pianist and senior surgical resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, performs colorectal surgery he “prefers the music of Bach, whose fugues and preludes mirror the methodical, structured steps of the procedure.” When Dr. Conrad operates “on a patient with terrible burns,” he listens to “techno or rap to set the right tone of tension and urgency.” He is “scientifically testing how music affects surgeons, their patients, and even relatives in the waiting room.” Dr. Conrad says, “We are already using music, but not in a standard protocol fashion. “How can we make it a tool of everyday practice?” He says his “goal is to understand whether music can improve results of surgery, and whether it might be used as a medical treatment?” http://bit.ly/4WqROe

“How a Good Old Sing – Song is Helping Couples Cope with the Devastating Effects of Dementia” (Dec. 4, 2009) by Jenny Johnston from the Mail on line. When Hilda Parker sings her favorite song, Que Sera’ Sera’, she remembers her family. Her husband says, “When she sings I have my wife back.” Hilda Parker has advanced Alzheimer’s and when she sings her favorite song “she has a sense of self.” http://bit.ly/86rUlD

“Delivering Doses of Sweet Harmony: Doctor-Musicians Play for Patients” (Oct. 18, 2009) by Eric Moskowitz from the Boston.com. The Classical music from Dvorak’s American Quartet was performed by the Longwood Symphony Orchestra for “50 Vietnamese immigrants, .. in their 70s and 80s, .., listening raptly. Tears welled in Mary Nguyen’s eyes. Never in her 72 years had she heard such music, she said.” Dr. Lisa M. Wong, a pediatrician and strings player who serves as president of the orchestra said “This year, instead of having a concert in Jordan Hall, where we usually play for 800 to 1,000 audience members, we thought we’d bring it to the patients.” Fourteen concerts were played. Their program is called “LSO on Call: Health and Harmony in the City.” Dr. Wong said, “The “on call” program started last year, with one group a month playing chamber music for patients in the field. The experience proved as rewarding for the musician-caregivers as it did for the patients, so the organization decided to try it on a larger scale yesterday. The pediatrician’s quartet played for Alzheimer’s patients in the morning at Jamaica Plain’s Sherrill House and visited Boston Shriners Hospital in the afternoon, playing for pediatric burn victims.” Dr. Wong, “I think it’s fitting the ‘American Quartet’ is being played for people who have been through so much to get here,” she whispered, as the Vietnamese immigrants listened to the composition formally known as Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 12 in F. “It just seems so right.” http://bit.ly/4vFI9u

“Cleveland Clinic Researchers Find Music Can Have a Soothing Effect During Brain Surgery” (Dec. 1, 2009) by Brie Zeltner from the Plain Dealer. Dr. Damir Janigro, a neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic, “found that melodic passages of music seemed to calm patients when played while they remained conscious during deep brain stimulation. Research on music and the brain has shown that it can reduce stress, alleviate pain and promote relaxation. And new research from the Cleveland Clinic shows that music can even reach into deep brain structures unrelated to hearing and memory to literally soothe nerves. Patients receiving deep-brain-stimulation surgery for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and several other conditions have to be awake for much of the surgery to tell surgeons if their symptoms improve when electrodes are placed deep in their brains.” http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2009/12/cleveland_clinic_researchers_f.html

“Harpist Provides Chords of Comfort to the Dying” (Nov. 27, 2009) by Alexandra Zavas from thetampabay.com. The three studies below show the positive effects of harp music for post-operative heart patients, premature infants, and reducing illness, palliative care: “A 2002 study: A group of 17 post-operative heart patients at Orlando Regional Hospital were monitored during a single 20-minute session of live harp music. Patients reported decreased pain and anxiety, and visual analog scales recorded physiological differences in blood pressure and oxygen saturation.” “A 2008 study: Eight stable premature infants were divided into groups in a study approved by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Four received usual care. Two were placed in quiet rooms. Two listened to a live harpist. Those who listened gained weight.” A 2006 study: Scientists with the University of Utah observed and measured the vital signs of 65 patients in palliative care” , reducing illness, “after harp sessions and determined that patients experienced decreased levels of agitation and wakefulness while breathing more slowly and deeply with less effort.” http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/womans-harp-offers-sick-a-bit-of-peace/1054611

“A Note of Healing: Music Helps Manage Asthma , COPD” (March 2005) by Stacey Miller from theAdvance for Respiratory Care Practitioners. A heart attack patient came into the hospital and nursesurged the patient to lie down and calm down “so they could treat him”. He was screaming for the medical staff to move away from him. Alicia Clair, Ph.D., MT-BC, was called. She brought with her ,her guitar and started to play and sing “Good Night Irene” and the patient immediately calmed down allowing the medical staff to help him. The power of playing soothing music for patients helps them to get better sooner. http://www.mar-amta.org/pr/pdf/Note_Healing.pdf

“Mozart May Help Preemies Gain Weight” (Dec. 10, 2009) by Tia Goldenberg from Time Magazine. ” Doctors at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center measured the energy expenditure of 20 infants born pre-term while listening to Mozart in their incubator. They compared that figure with the amount of energy they expended without the music.” Dr. Ronit Lubetzky , one of researchers for this study published in the medical journal Pediatrics said, “While listening to this specific music, a baby can have a lower energy expenditure and hopefully he will gain weight faster than without music.”

“The Sound of Music” (Nov. 26, 2009) by Debbie Gary-Taskey from the Daily American, Somerset County’s Newspaper. “Through research it was discovered that classical music” calms dogs. These specially designed classical music CDs “can help relax your dog before you leave home or even to sooth a dog while you are at work during the day. Playing soothing music 20 minutes before and during a storm may help to calm pets that have fear of thunderstorms or even fireworks.”

Wishing you and your family a very happy  and healthy New Year from your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline

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