Archive | June 2012

Aging in Japan

It is said that an era is coming in which human life is expected to last upwards of 90 years. That’s 25 years to live after retirement. 25 years of hopes, dreams, joy and sorrow. Some countries will experience this, or be hit, sooner than others. A unprescendented demographic change is happening in Japan. By 2055, 1 in 2.5 will be 65 years or older and Japan will become a hyper-aging society.

The country known for the growth of its impressive Tiger Economy and its creation of innovative high-tech firms like Sony or Hitachi needs to prepare. Many countries will soon follow and elderly care providers world-wide are wondering. What is the the land of the rising sun doing to, once again, take the lead?

Today, we are introducing a new blog series to Silverevolution: “Aging in Japan”. During the coming two weeks we will be sharing how Japan is organizing its care for the aging population, its housing, manpower, health care, transportation, and finance policies. We will visit robotics labs, learn from industry experts and speak to innovators and entrepreneurs. The world has for decades been following in the footsteps of Japan’s great innovators. Now it is time for us to learn about their forward-looking preparations for the aging world.



Music Therapy: A Chronic Care Paradigm

Could music therapy be used for treatment of chronic conditions? Could it even prevent them from arising? Let us explore.

The biological effects of music therapy through clinical research have been explored before the turn of the century by GR Watkins of University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. In 1997, he both reviewed and confirmed the usefulness of the effects of music therapy on anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate.

Taking into consideration the death tolls from cardiovascular disease — the largest worldly contributor to chronic disease deaths — we need to find ways to maintain a healthy heart. We definitely can – for example – reduce our trans-fatty acids intake, but there are several pieces to the puzzle. Let us see if anything more recent has discovered similar phenomena as was discovered by Watkins.

A meta-analysis in year 2012, conducted by RS Loomba et al., apparently discovered the same phenomena as Watson’s findings, but here they report major effects. They mention the purported effects of music therapy on relieving anxiety and statistically reveal significant decreases both in systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as heart rate. With these findings, further studies should triangulate these effects of music therapy after being incorporated into chronic disease prevention and chronic care management  programs. Finally, allopathic facilities should aim for integrative care initiatives and involve music therapy as part of holistic treatment — particularly for those who seek complementary or alternative modes of treatment.


1: Watkins GR. Music therapy: proposed physiological mechanisms and clinical implications. Clin Nurse Spec. 1997 Mar;11(2):43-50. Review. PubMed PMID: 9233140.
2: Loomba RS, Arora R, Shah PH, Chandrasekar S, Molnar J. Effects of music on systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate: a meta-analysis. Indian Heart J. 2012 May-Jun;64(3):309-13. PubMed PMID: 22664817.