Abstract 5132: Positive Emotions and the Endothelium: Does Joyful Music Improve Vascular Health?
Background: Previous studies have demonstrated that music may influence physiologic parameters such as heart rate and blood pressure. However, the extent to which music may also affect endothelial function has not been previously investigated.
Methods: This was a randomized 4-phase crossover and counterbalanced trial in ten healthy, non-smoking volunteers (70% male, mean age= 35.6 yrs) that included self-selections of music evoking joy [joyful music] or anxiety [anxious music]. Two additional phases included video clips to induce laughter and audio tapes to promote relaxation. To minimize emotional desensitization, subjects were asked to refrain from using self-selected tapes and images for at least 2 wks before each study phase. Endothelial function was assessed by brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) and measured as % diameter change after an overnight fast. Following baseline FMD measurements, subjects were randomized to a 30 min phase of the testing stimulus followed by post-study FMD; they returned a minimum of 1 wk later for the next phase. A total of 160 FMD measurements were made.
Results: Compared to baseline, mean upper arm FMD increased 26% during the music phase that evoked joy (P=0.0002) compared to a 6% decrease in FMD observed after listening to music that elicited anxiety (P=0.005) (Figure⇓). Mean FMD also increased 19% during the laughter phase (P=0.08) and 11% during relaxation (P=NS). Self-selected joyful music was associated with increased FMD to a magnitude previously observed with aerobic activity or statin therapy.
Conclusion: Listening to joyful music may be a useful adjunctive lifestyle measure to promote vascular health.