That question has brought together an all-star group of researchers from CAMH and the Music and Health Research Collaboratory at the University of Toronto. At CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Dr. Jeff Meyer, Dr. Neil Vasdev, Dr. Antonio Strafella and Dr. Michael Thaut — all of whom are distinguished Canada Research Chairs — hope to explore the power of music to treat clinical depression.
Using advanced brain imaging techniques, the team will study music’s effect on brain systems, specifically those that control attention, memory and movement. People with depression often experience difficulties with these functions, which may be resistant to conventional treatment. This study will explore how music can be used to retrain the brain. Researchers are particularly interested in music’s ability to improve mood, concentration and coordination of thought and movement.
“CAMH is uniquely positioned to lead a project of this nature,” says Dr. Jeff Meyer. “Collaboration is a big part of our research — we work together and draw upon different perspectives to find solutions. We’re bringing together expertise in music and brain imaging to treat depression.”
The research team is currently seeking funding to kickstart a pilot study of 40 participants. Dr. Meyer believes this study will improve our understanding of the causes of depression, and could lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating it — so that people can begin their recovery sooner.