Songs could soon replace painkillers

Music is more powerful than we imagined as The Synch Project is attempting to use it to improve our health.

Sync Project music INKLINE

There is an increasing body of evidence focusing on what happens to our brain when exposed to music. According to WIRED, studies on patients with Parkinson’s disease for example, revealed that listening to certain songs improved the subjects’ gait.

“It fires very broadly,” explains Marko Ahtisaari, CEO of the Sync Project, in the same report. “It’s not just the auditory cortex. What happens is essentially similar to when we take psycho-stimulants. In other words, when we take drugs.”

This idea that music could be used as medicine was taken seriously by Ahtisaari, who started the Sync Project with biologist Ketki Karanam and PhD student Yadid Ayzenberg.

Currently analysing more than 10 million playlists on Spotify, the team is mapping the characteristics of the music played with the use of specific health-related words such as “relaxation”. They also developed a Slackbot able to deliver a personalised playlist to more than 400 teams worldwide.

“It’s personalised to get you in the zone,” Ahtisaari says. “We get ratings and reactions from the users and that classification goes into the feedback loop. Ultimately, we will be applying machine learning to curate personalised music therapeutic interventions for a particular health outcome.”

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