Study: Using music to treat anxiety prior to operation as effective as mild sedative

Mike Dougherty
July 29, 2019 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Some people say music is like a drug, and a new study from Penn Medicine finds a calming tune can be just as effective at treating anxiety prior to an operation as a mild sedative.

"Researchers actually evaluated that track and saw that there was reduction in anxiety by 65 percent," Dr. Veena Graff said. 

"Weightless" by Marconi Union is a mellowing melody for sure, so Graff wanted to see if it could deliver the same results as a drug commonly used before minor bedside procedures. 

She said it worked quite well.

"Kind of tells us that perhaps there might be an alternative to a mild sedative to relax patients," she said. 

That's important because she says the drug Midazolam does have some side effects and can occasionally make someone's anxiety worse.

"The reason we wanted to study this is because, to try to see, can we give a non-medication alternative that's virtually harm-free."

They only studied "Weightless," and Graff says the next step is to let people pick their own tune and see how that works.