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Does Music Soothe the Savage Surgeon?

By M Dee Dubroff     Jul 20, 2007 in Science
Can it be that music has effects on mankind never before imagined? Read on for some strains, perhaps of a Stradivarius and perhaps just a bit of conversation about how music may affect some important members of the medical profession.
Would anyone ever imagine that Whistle While You Work, the theme song of The Seven Dwarfs, might shed new meaning onto a group of busy surgeons? A study published in the American Journal of Medicine says, yes indeed; not to that particular song, but to the concept of music having an important function in the operating room. It is the mood that music helps to create, whether the surgery is long or short. Watch out for love songs, especially if you are about to part with a gall bladder or other significant body part. The consequences could be unexpected.
The original study, which was conducted about ten years ago, involved fifty male surgeons. Each was randomly assigned to either no music, Pachebel’s Canon, or their own choice of music. For those doctors who were given their own choice of music, the highest performance rating, as indicated by cardiovascular reactions, occurred. The soothing classical composition came in second and no music came in last.
Now the trend is for each surgeon to bring his or her own music (almost like BYOB) or their patient’s choice of music into the operating room. (Perhaps small concerts and recitals will become a part of Operating Room procedure in the near future?). In any case, most doctors seem to feel that the music blots out all background noises as well as helps to set the tone and/or pace for certain procedures.
What do YOU think about this? And is Mick Jagger available for surgery next Tuesday?
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