Berit Marie Dykesteen Vik
University of Bergen, Norway
Berit Marie Dykesteen Vik has her expertise in exploring the brain’s neural networks during music-production, that is when playing an instrument. Her passion is in how music can change the brain’s function in linking up lost neural connections and thus improve health and wellbeing. She has designed a method for neurologic music therapy after years of experience in research, evaluation, teaching and administration both in hospital and education institutions. She has founded the Institute of Cognitive Rehabilitation after Traumatic Brain Injury, an institute that applies her method in cognitive rehabilitation of brain disorders.
Damage to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) often occurs following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can lead to complex behavioural changes with a negative impact on the individual’s social outcome. To investigate the effects of musical training on patients with behavioural and cognitive deficits following mild to moderate TBI, we performed a structured music-supported intervention of 8 weeks and recruited TBI patients in a chronic phase two years post injury. The intervention consisted of playing piano, two sessions per week, with instructor. Additional playing was required with minimum 15 minutes per day as home-practising. Mean time was 3 hours per week during 8 week. Additional two control groups of healthy participants were included in the study. One group received music intervention whereas the second group were a baseline group without intervention. Participants were assessed with neuropsycholgical tests, fMRI pre-post intervention. The clinical group were presented semi-structured interviews in order to obtain subjective behavioural data. The music groups performed a daily log of practicing time. All TBI patients were on sick leave at the time of intervention. 6 out of 7 patients returned to work post intervention. The results demonstrated significant improvement of neuropsychological tests, functional changes in OFC, and enhancement of social interaction. We propose a causal relationship between musical training and improved social functioning in reference to qualitative assessment, neuro-psycological tests and functional neuroplastic changes in OFC. The novelty of the intervention may have clinical relevance for patients with behavioural problems following traumatic brain injury.