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Want to be Comfortably Numb? Ignore painkillers, listen to Pink Floyd! Print E-mail
Written by Ronald van Soest   
Tuesday, 27 August 2019
Erasmus MC, Rotterdam

This month it has been reported that a well-known Dutch surgeon and his team have scientifically proven that music like Mozart and Pink Floyd have a very positive effect on the mind, and can even be used as a substitute for highly addictive painkillers like morphine and fentanyl with less chances of side effects. One of our Dutch visitors, Ronald van Soest, reveals more.

Both are sometimes described as soothing. Nice music and morphine. The anaesthesiologist will give you the latter during and after a serious surgery. But the first - music - will soon also be provided. Dr Hans Jeekel, Professor of Surgery at Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, now knows exactly how much the morphine dose can be reduced, when patients are going under the knife with headphones over their ears.

The dosage reduction is an average of 4.4 milligram during the 24 hours after the surgery, he wrote in the medical journal Annals of Surgery. The hospital was convinced after seeing the test results, and has already started to put it in practice. Apart from saving money it also prevents trouble in terms of accidents and addiction. Like America, the Netherlands are also facing a severe opium crisis, according to some worried doctors. The number of poisonings and overdoses with the much prescribed opiate oxycodone increased tenfold between 2008 and 2018, counting 400 accidents. It is therefore no surprise Health Affairs minister Bruno Bruins declared a desire to reduce the use of it; Dr Jeekel's results will be good news for him.

Dr Jeekel and his team compared the results of 55 studies with nearly 5000 patients. Mostly they weren't completely free in their choice of music. But it had to be real music, no jungle sounds or the sound of sea waves were allowed. On the hospital's website he explains that much is still unknown about the painkilling effects of music. Something with the brain… but it was made clear once more that Mozart and Pink Floyd in particular do have a positive effect on the stress response and defence system...

 
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