Art improves recovery from stroke

Rome: Patients who appreciate music, painting and theatre have better chances of recovery from stroke than patients who do not, says a new study. Stroke is the third cause of death or disability in the Western world. More and more older people are having strokes and undergoing recovery.

"We know that every six seconds there is a person affected by stroke in the world," said study co-author Ercole Vellone, assistant professor in nursing science at the School of Nursing, University Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

"Identifying strategies to improve stroke recovery and patients` quality of life represent a priority for the healthcare system and art exposure seems to be promising," added Vellone, according to a university statement.

For the research, 192 stroke survivors (average age 70 years) were asked if they liked or did not like art (music, painting, theatre). Quality of life was compared for patients interested in art (105) and patients not interested in art (87).

Patients interested in art had better general health, found it easier to walk, and had more energy. They were also happier, less anxious or depressed, and felt calmer.

They had better memory and were superior communicators - speaking with other people, understanding of what people said, naming people and objects correctly.

Vellone said: "Stroke survivors who saw art as an integrated part of their former lifestyle, by expressing appreciation towards music, painting and theatre, showed better recovery skills than those who did not."

The research was presented at the 12th Annual Spring Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing, in Copenhagen, Denmark.