A rationale for music training to enhance executive functions in parkinson’s disease: An overview of the problem

Teresa Lesiuk, Jennifer A. Bugos, Brea Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Music listening interventions such as Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation can improve mobility, balance, and gait in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Yet, the impact of music training on executive functions is not yet known. Deficits in executive functions (e.g., attention, processing speed) in patients with PD result in gait interference, deficits in emotional processing, loss of functional capacity (e.g., intellectual activity, social participation), and reduced quality of life. The model of temporal prediction and timing suggests two networks collectively contribute to movement generation and execution: the basal ganglia-thalamocortical network (BGTC) and the cerebellar-thalamocortical network (CTC). Due to decreases in dopamine responsible for the disruption of the BGTC network in adults with PD, it is hypothesized that rhythmic auditory cues assist patients through recruiting an alternate network, the CTC, which extends to the supplementary motor areas (SMA) and the frontal cortices. In piano training, fine motor finger movements activate the cerebellum and SMA, thereby exercising the CTC network. We hypothesize that exercising the CTC network through music training will contribute to enhanced executive functions. Previous research suggested that music training enhances cognitive performance (i.e., working memory and processing speed) in healthy adults and adults with cognitive impairments. This review and rationale provides support for the use of music training to enhance cognitive outcomes in patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Cerebellar-thalamocortical network (CTC)
  • Executive functions
  • Fine motor
  • Music training
  • Parkinson’s Disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'A rationale for music training to enhance executive functions in parkinson’s disease: An overview of the problem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this