Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Choir singing boosts immune system activity in cancer patients and carers, study shows


Public Release: 4-Apr-2016
Choir singing boosts immune system activity in cancer patients and carers, study shows
Singing in a choir for just 1 hour causes physiological changes in people affected by cancer

Singing in a choir for just one hour boosts levels of immune proteins in people affected by cancer, reduces stress and improves mood, which in turn could have a positive impact on overall health, a new study by Tenovus Cancer Care and the Royal College of Music published today in ecancermedicalscience has found.

The research raises the possibility that singing in choir rehearsals could help to put people in the best possible position to receive treatment, maintain remission and support cancer patients.

The study tested 193 members of five different choirs. Results showed that singing for an hour was associated with significant reductions in stress hormones, such as cortisol, and increases in quantities of cytokines - proteins of the immune system - which can boost the body's ability to fight serious illness.

Dr Ian Lewis, Director of Research and Policy at Tenovus Cancer Care and co-author of the research, said: "These are really exciting findings. We have been building a body of evidence over the past six years to show that singing in a choir can have a range of social, emotional and psychological benefits, and now we can see it has biological effects too.


The study also found that those with the lowest levels of mental wellbeing and highest levels of depression experienced greatest mood improvement, associated with lower levels of inflammation in the body. There is a link between high levels of inflammation and serious illness.


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