Influence of music therapy on the telomere length: a brief review and a pilot study
Keywords: telomere length, telomerase activity, music therapy
AbstractRelation between music perception and telomere length is discussed. Telomeres are now considered as markers of general health and as possible predictor of life expectancy, while their length correlates with either the risk of age-related pathologies or with higher adaptive performance. The ability to withstand agerelated telomere shortening by means of practicing psychological training is discussed. Problems and prospects of present-day music therapy are reviewed, as well as absence of studies of alteration of telomere length, related to music perception. Sixty-three practically healthy young (aged 24 ± 5 years) randomly selected Russian-speaking students were divided into three subgroups, each of which listened to music of a specific type for 14 days, 90 minutes each day. Before and after the two-week course, the telomere length and telomerase activity in blood samples were measured. A limited but statistically reliable increase in the telomere length and in telomerase activity is demonstrated to have occurred as a result of completing the music course. Classical music tends to bring about less stress, positively affect one’s mood, and physiology, and, finally, such essential aging markers as telomerase activity and the telomere length. Non-classical music conditioned manifestation of some stress, which tended to affect the telomere length in a negative way. In order to cope with this difficulty, telomerase was activated.