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Rochester, New York 14642


The purpose of this study is primarily to assess the ability of a music therapy program to improve holistically the psychological, somatic, and social symptoms of patients with Huntington 's disease (HD). We hope to demonstrate the benefits of applying music therapy interventions to the management methods of HD, thus paving the way for the development of an effective music therapy program for individuals with HD.

Study summary:

ABSTRACT Background: Recent studies show that music therapy helps improve the symptomatic manifestations of Parkinson's Disease. Few studies have looked at music therapy as a treatment for the psychiatric, cognitive and motor symptoms of patients with Huntington's disease (HD). Objective: To examine the feasibility and tolerability of a treatment program of music therapy for patients with Huntington's disease. Also, to determine if music therapy improves the mood and motor features of HD while improving quality of life. Methods: Subjects with HD were recruited to participate in a six-week study that included one individual, half-hour music therapy session and one hour-long group session per week. The music therapy protocols were adapted from the Colorado State University's Neurological Music Therapy program and were targeted to HD symptoms including balance and posture, fine motor skills, memory and attention, vocalizations, and mood. In particular the protocols included Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS), Pattern Sensory Enhancement (PSE), and Therapeutic Instrumental Music Playing (TIMP). Primary outcome of tolerability was to be assessed by the subjects' adherence to the therapeutic protocol, attendance, and the results of an exit survey inquiring about their feelings toward the use of music therapy in HD. A secondary outcome of the study was the change in the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) score between baseline and study completion. Results: Five subjects were recruited for study participation (one female and four males). Music therapy was found to be a tolerable and feasible treatment for patients with HD (100% adherence and 98% attendance). Exit surveys demonstrated strongly positive feelings towards the music therapy treatment program in four of the five subjects (one survey was completed with contradictory answers by the subject). While there was improvement in UHDRS scores for finger tapping, pronation/supination and the Luria, these changes did not achieve statistical significance with the small sample size in this study. Conclusions: Music therapy was well tolerated among subjects with HD in this small study. Future studies are now being planned to look at the efficacy of this intervention in a larger population of HD subjects.


Inclusion Criteria: - Diagnosis of HD - Over the age of 18 - Patients must be ambulatory, use of a walker or human support is acceptable - Patients must be able to communicate their thoughts and feelings Exclusion Criteria: - Anyone without the preceding characteristics



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Frederick J Marshall, MD
University of Rochester

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Rochester, New York 14642
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: October 09, 2019

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