Neurophysiological responses to music and vibroacoustic stimuli in Rett syndrome
Research in Developmental Disabilities, Volume 35, Issue 6, Pages 1281-1291
Märith Bergström-Isacsson, Bengt Lagerkvist, Ulla Holck, Christian Gold
The study included 29 participants with RTT who were referred to the Swedish Rett Center for medical brainstem assessment during the period 2006–2007. 11 children with a typical developmental pattern were used as comparison. A repeated measures design was used, and physiological data were collected from a neurophysiological brainstem assessment. The continuous dependent variables measured were Cardiac Vagal Tone (CVT), Cardiac Sensitivity to Baroreflex (CSB), Mean Arterial Blood Pressure (MAP) and the Coefficient of Variation of Mean Arterial Blood Pressure (MAP-CV). These parameters were used to categorise brainstem responses as parasympathetic (calming) response, sympathetic (activating) response, arousal (alerting) response and unclear response. The results showed that all participants responded to the musical stimuli, but not always in the expected way. It was noticeable that both people with and without RTT responded with an arousal to all musical stimuli to begin with. Even though the initial expressions sometimes changed after some time due to poor control functions of their brainstem, the present results are consistent with the possibility that the RTT participants’ normal responses to music are intact. These findings may explain why music is so important for individuals with RTT throughout life.
See also Märith Bergström-Isacsson's PhD thesis: