Is artificial intelligence music the best medicine?
Have you ever tried to unwind after a long day by listening to music – a little Mozart, some soft jazz, or maybe a little Natalie Imbruglia? Today, a start-up tech firm claims to have shown that the right playlist can have medical benefits.
MediMusic is a Hull-based business with big plans to use music technology to improve healthcare. It claims to be able to relieve anxiety and pain by using artificial intelligence to create playlists tailored to each individual patient.
MediMusic has developed algorithms, according to the company’s founder Gary Jones, that generate a playlist of up to 400 tracks designed to have a measurable effect on a patient.
“They put on the headphones, listen to the music, and over time, their heart rate, blood pressure, and the output of the stress hormone cortisol will all decrease,” he says.
The physiological effect on the patient is measured by a wrist-worn heart rate monitor, and MediMusic claims that its Digital Drip system uses machine learning to swap tracks in the playlist if the listener does not respond as predicted.
For Dimentia Patients-
Lancashire’s NHS is taking an interest in the technology, testing it in hospitals with patients and healthcare staff.
The device was checked with dementia patients in the following way, according to Dr. Jacqueline Twamley, innovation manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: “If we know anything will be difficult for a patient or that a patient will become restless, we can use the music system beforehand to see if it helps to keep them calm.”
She claims that the music elicited a wide range of emotions in her.
When it came to an end, some patients expressed their disappointment. One of our patients started crying, which was disturbing. However, he later said that it “brought back such good memories.”
However, Dr. Twamley claims that there were observable results, such as lower heart rates and cortisol levels.
MediMusic claims that dementia patients experienced heart rate reductions of up to 22%, and that its technology could help the NHS slash drug costs by up to a quarter in some places.
Is there, however, any evidence that an AI-designed playlist is more successful than simply playing the patient’s favourite songs? Gary Jones is adamant that his device can be recommended to both patients and exhausted medical professionals, despite studies showing that your own choice of music does not actually reduce your heart rate.
Artificial intelligence is being touted as having the potential to save a lot of money in a variety of industries. However, before investing in systems like this, healthcare professionals would need a lot more evidence on the beneficial effects of music.