NCCIH Research Blog

NCCIH blogs about research developments related to complementary health practices. Check in regularly to keep up with the latest findings.

July 26, 2021

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Director

Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Much evidence from clinical practice and from small, preliminary studies suggests that music-based interventions have benefits for people with brain disorders of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. However, larger, more rigorous studies are needed to develop a strong base of knowledge in this field. As mentioned in a previous blog post in March 2021, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) planned a series of three virtual workshops to gather input for a toolkit to help future investigators design high-quality studies of music-based interventions for brain disorders of aging. The NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices involved in planning include the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.

We welcome you to register for the third and final research workshop to be held on August 25, from 1 to 5 p.m. ET.

Creating a Toolkit for Rigorous Research

NIH, in collaboration with the Foundation for the NIH and the Renée Fleming Foundation, is developing a toolkit for rigorous, reproducible, well-powered research. The toolkit will include common data elements that NIH will strongly encourage investigators to use in NIH-funded studies, along with core datasets of outcome measures and biomarkers specific for music-based interventions for brain disorders of aging. I have the privilege of co-leading the NIH planning committee for this project, along with Dr. Coryse St. Hillaire-Clarke (NIA) and Dr. Robert Finkelstein (NINDS).

To gather input for the toolkit, we scheduled a series of three virtual workshops to bring together experts in five fields: neuroscience, behavioral and social science intervention development, clinical trials methodology, music therapy and music medicine, and patient advocacy and arts organizations. Two workshops have already been held: one on the building blocks of music-based interventions and the other on outcome measures for brain disorders of aging. Both were very successful. Our panelists shared and discussed a variety of concepts, insights, and methodology that will serve as the basis for much of the toolkit. We also issued a Request for Information to gather stakeholder input, and we’re currently reviewing the responses.

Next Steps

The final workshop in this series, to be held on August 25, will focus on biomarkers for brain disorders of aging. Our expert panelists will be asked to give us input on the selection of reliable, broadly accessible markers to monitor the response of the brain and other physiological systems to music-based interventions. This event is open to the public, and we hope you will attend. You need to register in advance using Eventbrite

After the final workshop, we’ll move on to the next stages of this initiative: finalizing the toolkit, implementing a broad dissemination plan, and developing funding opportunity announcements for pilot testing of the toolkit in demonstration projects for brain disorders of aging. We’re excited to have the opportunity to put all the knowledge we’ve gained into practice.

As renowned soprano Renée Fleming said in her introductory remarks at our second workshop, our goal is to bring the power of music to bear on brain disorders of aging and other conditions. The toolkit will be a template and roadmap to advance research in this field. Please follow us as we take the next steps in our journey.

Music and Health: Relating Target Engagement to Clinical Benefit—Biomarkers for Brain Disorders of Aging
August 25, 2021

1 to 5 p.m. ET
View the agenda and register

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

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Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

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NCCIH Research Blog Team

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Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

NCCIH Champions Pathways To Advance the Science of Minority Health and Health Disparities

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I am so pleased at the progress the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is making in championing steady pathways to advance the science of minority health and health disparities, and promote health equity
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