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Using music to improve patients' quality of life - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Using music to improve patients' quality of life

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TULSA, Okla. -

We all know, music can make us happy. Now, a clinic at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa is using music to improve the quality of life for patients of all ages.

Bill Rischard has regular sessions with Dr. Hyun-Jung Lee at the Music Therapy Clinic at ORU. Rischard has Parkinson's disease. He's been going to Lee since January.

Lee's instrument is an autoharp.

"I'm going to use the autoharp to provide a strong steady beat," Lee said.

Rischard will exercise in time to her strumming and her singing. He could not do this nearly as well without the music. He walks with the shuffling gate characteristic of Parkinson's patients. But when Lee adds the music, Rischard is able to, in effect, bypass the Parkinson's and walk in time to the music. Bill Rischard's wife, Mary, says he's stronger and more active.

"I don't think he'd be where he is if he didn't have this kind of therapy," she said.

Quinn Elias, 4, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus-- that's water on the brain-- and cerebral palsy shortly after she was born. The program therapist Jacquie Cox has created for her is designed to help her respond more quickly to cues she receives.

"Music is her motivator," Cox said.

Quinn's mom, Megan, says she loves the music, and since the therapy is embedded in the music, Quinn is having fun and the therapy is working.

Two patients whose quality of life and health is better because of something called music therapy in Tulsa.

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