Music and Health: Understanding and Developing Music Medicine (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

NIMHD supports research on music and health to:

  • Increase our understanding of how music affects the brain when it is used therapeutically and/or
  • Use that knowledge to better develop evidence-based music interventions to enhance health or treat specific diseases and disorders.

Music has a unique and remarkable ability to improve the symptoms of a broad range of disorders that occur throughout the lifespan, deliver palliative care during serious advanced illness, improve recovery from a variety of neurological disorders, and improve health throughout our lives. Music can act as an effective medicine, but its means of action are poorly understood.

NIMHD is specifically interested in research with Sound Health that focuses on racial and ethnic minority and other populations experiencing health disparities. Research projects should:

  • Consist of epidemiologic, experimental, or intervention studies.
  • Incorporate constructs and measurement of social determinants of health across multiple domains and levels of influence (e.g., biological, behavioral, sociocultural, environmental, physical environment, health care system) and multiple levels (e.g., individual, interpersonal, community, societal; see the NIMHD Research Framework for more information).

Examples of topics may include studies that:

  • Address the effects of music interventions to enhance function and improve health, Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, and sleep disorders and how they differ across populations experiencing health disparities.
  • Explore the role and effect of music together with dance in major life events (e.g., bereavement, stress, cancer, surgery, pain).
  • Examine the effects of interventions using music together with dance and type of music on health and function in multiple regions and across the U.S. cultures that experience health disparities.
  • Examine the effects of music and health function by generational groups and in family cohesiveness, including in high-risk health disparities population groups (e.g., adolescents at risk for substance use disorders, sexual and gender minority populations).

NIH Guide No.: PAR-21-100

Page updated July 14, 2021