Disclaimer: This is transcribed using AI. Expect (funny) errors.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:00] I’m Mindy Peterson and this is Enhance Life with Music, where we explore the ways music makes our lives better. My guest today is joining me from Portland, Maine. Brian Harris is co-founder and CEO of MedRhythms, a digital therapeutics company focused on the intersection of music, neuroscience and technology. Brian is a board certified music therapist, inventor, and author of publications related to music and rehabilitation. His work has been featured in many outlets including Forbes, CNBC, Rolling Stone, and The Huffington Post. Welcome to Enhance Life with Music, Brian.
Brian Harris: [00:00:39] Well, thank you, Mindy. It’s certainly an honor to be here. So appreciate you having me here today.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:43] My pleasure. Well, MedRhythms built the world’s first prescription music product. Tell us a little bit about the company and how and why you started it. And then I’m looking forward to hearing more about MedRhythms products. How was the company started?
Brian Harris: [00:00:59] Yeah, excited to tell you about it. And as you mentioned in the introduction, my background is as a music therapist. So I’m a board certified music therapist with advanced training in the neuroscience of music and how that can be clinically applied via what’s called neurologic music therapy. And about a decade ago, I started the very first music therapy program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, which is the Harvard Medical School affiliation affiliate for neuro rehabilitation hospitals, where we were using live music to treat patients primarily with stroke and brain injuries, helping them recover in the areas of movement, language and cognition, all based upon the neuroscience of how music impacts the brain, but specifically how that can be used to improve those functions following any sort of neuro disease and injury. And we were finding that patients were getting better, faster, with greater results. And we now have the neuroscience to not only explain how this was possible, but also how we could standardize and replicate those interventions to help patients. So very quickly after I started the program at Spaulding. The demand for my services, both from physicians who were writing orders for me to see their patients within the hospital, but also from patients and their family members who were saying, you know, Brian, you helped my dad walk again.
Brian Harris: [00:02:15] How do I get more of this when I leave the hospital? And at the time, the answer really was, you know, there’s nothing you can do. And as a clinician, that was just an awful conversation for me to have with patients and their family members on a regular basis. And so it was really based upon those results that we were seeing in the clinic and the demand that we were seeing that we started MedRhythms really around this fundamental mission of how can we bring this important care from Spaulding to everybody around the world that we believe not only need it, but really fundamentally deserve to have access to it? And we decided to begin in the area of improving walking, there’s really established research in the field demonstrating the profound impact that rhythm specifically can have on the motor system to improve walking outcomes, and decided that the way that we would really be able to scale, to reach people is to build a product using technology to aid in what we were doing in the clinic.
Mindy Peterson: [00:03:10] So the company was started to produce products that people could use at home on their own, without needing to have a music therapist right there present working with them. Is that right?
Brian Harris: [00:03:21] Yeah. And actually a nuance to that too, is that we originally started as a therapy services provider where we hired other neurologic music therapists outside of myself, and we started contracting with hospitals, doing inpatient care, outpatient care, in-home care, tele therapy, and we operate that practice still today. It’s really a wonderful team of clinicians that are treating patients and in live 1 to 1 sessions. And we quickly realized after starting the therapy services, and while it was really providing a lot of value to the patients that we served, we realized that in order for us to really meet the vision that we had in terms of impact of being able to reach people around the world, we weren’t going to be able to do that by scaling the services business, primarily because there simply aren’t enough neurologic music therapists out there for the need that there is to treat patients. And so that’s when we really focused on building these products that could deliver this specific intervention, called rhythmic auditory stimulation, to improve walking to people in their homes, regardless of their location, without the need of a clinician to be present.
Mindy Peterson: [00:04:26] So tell us about these products. Tell us who they’re for, like what conditions they’re best applied for and how they leverage the power of music. Yeah.
Brian Harris: [00:04:34] So they’re all based upon research in the neuroscience of music, specifically around how rhythm can activate the motor system via process. That’s called auditory motor entrainment. And auditory motor entrainment is really the underlying mechanism of action that underlies all of our products across diagnoses. And what the research shows is that when we as humans listen to rhythm, that. In our environment, like the rhythm of music, that it activates our auditory system because it’s an auditory input. But the auditory system and the motor system are really robustly connected at both the cortical and subcortical levels, all the way down through the reticulospinal tract, such that we can use an external rhythmic cue to engage the motor system. So the auditory system and the motor system begin to fire in synchrony with that external rhythmic cue. And that’s what we call auditory motor entrainment. Auditory motor entrainment is the reason why as as humans, when we listen to music that has a strong beat to it, that we want to move our bodies or not our head or tap our feet or tap our fingers, that’s not an emotional reaction to music. That’s the rhythm literally hitting our motor system and telling it to fire. So as we think about those that have damage to the motor system, like stroke or Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, we can use the external rhythmic cue to engage that motor system to help it fire more like it did pre injury or pre diagnoses. When you do that with auditory motor entrainment happens. It’s an intervention that’s called rhythmic auditory stimulation.
Brian Harris: [00:06:14] And rhythmic auditory stimulation has been studied for about three decades demonstrating its efficacy to improve outcomes in terms of walking from things like improving stride length, symmetry speed, cadence variability across disease states. So we’ve really taken that foundation of rhythmic auditory stimulation and built products that are based upon that intervention. So the way that our products really look is that we have sensors that connect to the shoe that collect clinical grade biomechanics in real time. So all of the data that we would look at as clinicians, that’s the data that these sensors connect, that data feeds into our algorithms, which are based upon a mobile device. And then we deliver music via headphones and really at the core of our products is what we call our clinical thinking algorithms. So essentially I taught the algorithms to think like a clinician. So when certain data comes in from the shoes, here’s what you do with the music. When data comes in, do y with the music. When y data comes in, do Z with the music. And so it’s a closed loop system that’s constantly collecting data in real time from our patients, and then responding to it with music to deliver an intervention that’s based upon the principles of rhythmic auditory stimulation. But because we’re getting these high fidelity data from the shoes, and this is happening in real time, we can create interventions or the algorithms create interventions for every patient based upon how they’re functioning on that day, in that moment, because of the real time data stream in.
Mindy Peterson: [00:07:50] Okay, so the music, the beat is providing sort of a container, a structure for movement. But depending on how respond of the person is, the music will change to be what faster or slower, more pronounced beat to help the person entrain more strongly. I mean, how does all that work?
Brian Harris: [00:08:14] Yeah, that’s a really great sort of way to explain. It is certainly, you know, elements of music being tempo. So there’s music and music at different tempos. There’s also music that has different beat salience or essentially how strong the rhythm can be felt by the end user. So we actually collect data around somebody’s attainment ability. So their ability to walk and we collect their quality. You know, we want to make sure that as they’re walking they’re able to walk safely. And those inputs help to create the decisions of what music they hear in terms of the points you set, the tempo, the beat, salience, et cetera. To improve the entrainment ability and thus the quality of walking.
Mindy Peterson: [00:08:56] So walk us through what this treatment process looks like. How does it start? Does somebody get prescribed one of these units? Do they just request it, pay for it and start using it? Do they use it under the guidance of a music therapist. Kind of walk us through that treatment process?
Brian Harris: [00:09:13] Yeah. So the product is built as a prescription product. The first one that we have that’s farthest along in our development is for chronic stroke. It’s now called Intandem is the brand name of the product. And in tandem was built for people who have walking deficits in the chronic stroke population. This is prescribed by a doctor shipped to in-home and used in home. And it’s recommended to be used multiple times per week. And our clinical trial that we did on this product was for a five week intervention. So you could actually think about it, the use of it sort of like physical therapy in the sense it’s a 30 minute session multiple times per week for a number of weeks under the prescription of a. Doctor. However, there doesn’t need to be a clinician present while doing the intervention, so it’s designed to be autonomous. It’s designed to be easy to use, such that there won’t be as many barriers to the access of technology in this population, and that it can be used by the end user or by the patient by themselves in their home.
Mindy Peterson: [00:10:20] Okay. So there’s a sensor that’s placed on the shoe. There’s an app and headphones that are used. Yes.
Brian Harris: [00:10:26] So the app is on a mobile device that we ship with the kit. So the kit that gets shipped to the end user are the sensors, one that goes on each shoe. Those are Bluetooth hard coded to a mobile device that has an application on it. And then there’s headphones. And the headphones are also Bluetooth headphones that are hard coded to the mobile device as well. So when the end user opens the box and uses the kit for the first time, there’s no Bluetooth pairing that’s necessary because it’s already done prior to it being shipped. And then there’s the application that’s on the mobile device that runs the session for them.
Mindy Peterson: [00:11:02] Okay, nice. Bluetooth was wonderful. We don’t need people tripping over wires when they’re trying to improve their gait. Yes, walking.
Brian Harris: [00:11:11] In wires, especially for our our patients that have walking deficits is not a good combination.
Mindy Peterson: [00:11:16] Right, right. Okay. So what kind of music genres tend to work best? Are there multiple loaded on this app. And people can pick which one they like. How does that work?
Brian Harris: [00:11:29] It’s a good question. And as we think about the music content itself, you know, there’s really as we look at music, there’s sort of two lenses that we look at music through, and the first lens is through the objective parameters of music. So in order to elicit auditory motor entrainment, there needs to be a certain time signature, beat salience, rhythmic structure, consistency of rhythm. Et cetera. To allow auditory motor entrainment to happen. Then in addition to that, we think about the subjective lens of music. So this is music that you like. And there’s research that shows that your brain functionally responds better to music that you like. It’s been shown that rhythmic auditory stimulation done with familiar music in certain populations can elicit better outcomes. But also we think that using familiar music, we want the product to be motivating, we want it to be engaging. And so it was important to us that we were able to use familiar music. And for that aspect, we have a partnership with Universal Music Group, which is the world’s largest record label. And by virtue of that partnership, part of the partnership is access to the nearly their entire catalog of music, but a really wide breadth and scope and depth of music across genres that can be used within the product, such that we can find music that the patients like and still make it therapeutic for them.
Mindy Peterson: [00:12:57] Okay. And you mentioned earlier in our discussion something about how the rhythm, the beat is really important in producing that rhythmic entrainment. But if you don’t have the rest of the musical elements, melody, things like that, you don’t have that emotional component. And you just mentioned how music is important for motivation. It’s important to make it enjoyable and engaging. Talk to us a little bit more about how the different elements of music are so critical to this product working.
Brian Harris: [00:13:29] Right. And that’s a really good question. As we think about music in general. Right. Music is such a complex structure. It’s also such a complex stimuli for the human brain. For all the reasons that you mentioned, when we think about when we passively listen to music that’s in our environment, it activates the parts of our brain that are responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, emotion, executive function. And there’s no other stimulus on Earth that engages our brain like music does. So that is what we call global activation. That really music just robustly activates our brain specific to the walking outcome. As we narrow in on that, it’s really important that it has the very objective rhythmic parameters to improve the walking outcomes. But as we build on that, adding the melody, the harmony, the different sounds of instruments, but also the familiarity of song gives your brain a stronger signal. It can activate, recruit other parts of your brains for that function. And so it’s really important, as you mentioned, that we be able to use something other than just specific rhythmic stimuli, but really robust music to activate the brain more globally and to really have the patients be engaged in it. Right. Like if you look at adherence to health care interventions, it’s astronomically low, even things as quote unquote simple. As taking a pill. Sure, it’s known that patients don’t adhere to interventions, so we wanted to figure out how can we engage motivate our patients in this way. And one of the important factors we think is familiar music.
Mindy Peterson: [00:15:13] And I’ll point out that your website does have a page. I’ll include a link in the show notes to the scientific research and information backing up your product, which is really interesting. You have a lot of information on there about what you mentioned, how music does activate the entire brain. It engages the brain’s areas of movement, language, attention, memory, executive function and emotion, which we mentioned. So lots of great information on the website for people who want to dig into that a little bit more. And as you mentioned earlier, you are seeing results where patients are getting better, faster and having better end results, which is really exciting. And you have a product that’s non-pharmacological, so you don’t have some of the potential side effects that come with drugs. You don’t have the addiction issue, things like that. So some other benefits there in terms of how this process looks. Once a patient starts using the product, the algorithms sort of go into play. I think the the therapist who’s working with the person, even though they don’t need to physically be present, they’re getting feedback and data on what frequency of use the success of the gate. If the patient’s keeping a beat with some of the information that the medical team is receiving as the patient uses the device. Well, the.
Brian Harris: [00:16:38] Great thing about these types of connected products, you know, connected medical devices like what we’re building is they’re delivering an intervention and at the same time collecting massive amounts of data. Our sensors collect more than 40 data points for every step that a patient takes. So we’re really getting lots of data about changes that somebody is having over time in terms of improving their walking speed, symmetry, stride length, cadence. Et cetera. But also adherence, you know, are they doing it? When are they doing it. How long are they doing it. Are they adhering to the recommended frequency. Et cetera. All of that data, which can be shared depending on what the provider wants to see from clinical to, you know, higher level adherence data.
Mindy Peterson: [00:17:22] So the data is collected. And through that, does the medical team make adjustments to what types of songs are options to the patient? I mean, how does that interface, how does that go back and forth to continue to improve the person’s movement and gait through use of the device?
Brian Harris: [00:17:43] Once the product gets prescribed to the patient, the algorithms can actually based upon the real time data that we’re getting at the beginning of every session. There’s a period of time where there’s a we call it a baseline session. So we’re collecting all of the data about how somebody walks at the beginning of the session without music. So how are they functioning today? And based upon that data, the algorithms can actually provide an intervention for that patient based upon how they’re functioning on that day, in that moment. And because the data is coming in in real time throughout the entire session, the algorithms can change the music to provide a challenging intervention for them that progresses them in real time every day. So there’s no need for a human intervention, even to change the experience or to change the difficulty levels or anything like that. It’s all autonomously done within the product.
Mindy Peterson: [00:18:42] Okay. And the specific things that you’re working on improving, is it fluidity of movement? Is it speed of movement? Is it foot clearance? Like what are some of the things that you’re trying to improve?
Brian Harris: [00:18:55] Well, patients, if we look at the folks who have chronic stroke walking deficits, when a stroke impacts the brain, oftentimes it impacts one hemisphere of the brain, which then leads to what’s called hemiparesis. Or one side of the body gets affected, meaning the left side may not take the same sized steps as the right side. So that’s called an asymmetry. Oftentimes in our patients post-stroke, they may have a deficit in their speed and the speed deficits may come from them taking slow steps. That’s called cadence. So the actual sort of steps per minute gets slowed. Sometimes patients take smaller steps so their stride length is smaller which makes them go slower. And they have this asymmetry. So by virtue of how the product engages the motor system to improve neuromotor control, when that happens, we would expect to see and based upon the literature, we would expect to see improvements in speed that. Home from improvements in cadence or stride length, or improvements in symmetry. Everybody is a bit different in how the intervention may impact them, but really high level. We’re really trying to improve patient speed and their ability to ambulate.
Mindy Peterson: [00:20:14] Okay. And what do you see in terms of results when patients are not using the device. So is this a is this a band aid or is it a cure like when they’re using it. Are they doing better and better. But then once they stop using it and it’s not they don’t have those headsets on. Are they sort of back to square one again? Or do you see those improvements continue when they’re not actively using it?
Brian Harris: [00:20:37] Well, the exciting thing is that research shows that when you can. Two things. One is it’s been shown that music aids in neuroplasticity, so that when you engage in music in an active way, you can actually create new neural connections. So we’d expect to see carryover function okay. So we’d expect to see the carryover function when the intervention is removed. And then also as we continue to improve people’s walking, we’d expect those as long as they remain active, we would expect those results to persist as well. So in our stroke population, you know, we’d expect to see improvements in their carryover function, in their walking speed, even when the intervention is taken away. Mm.
Mindy Peterson: [00:21:18] It’s so exciting. What can be done in the brain with music? I remember one of the very early podcast guests that I had on this show was the music therapist who worked with Gabby Giffords in helping her relearn how to speak after surviving the shooting incident. And this is the the shooting incident now is, what, over ten years ago in Arizona, um, listeners probably are familiar with with Gabby Giffords, who was a rep from Arizona. And I remember the therapist, Megan Morrow, can include a link in the show notes to that episode. It was just so fascinating hearing her talk about how music has this ability to create new neural pathways, kind of like highways around the damaged areas of the brain, kind of like detours in our brain around those damaged areas. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about here, which it’s it’s so just fascinating to hear about music’s ability to do that in the brain. And then once those pathways are created, they’re there. And whether you have the music going or not, your your brain has that superhighway of information that it’s sending back and forth to, from the brain to limbs.
Brian Harris: [00:22:36] Yeah. It’s really it’s really profound. And it’s very interesting because we’ve always known as humans and everybody’s had the experience where, you know, music can evoke emotions, right? I think we’ve all had those experiences where it can music can make us happy. It can make us sad. It can boost our adrenaline. We also, I think, have all had an experience where music can speak things when words fail. Right. So we think about that through the the social science part of music. Yes. Well, a lot of people haven’t heard yet the side of the story where we can flip that switch from looking at music purely through the lens of social science, in terms of how it makes us feel to the lens of neuroscience, where we can understand the objective, profound impact that music can have on on the brain of humans, regardless of age, culture, ability or disability. But more specifically because of that knowledge. Now, how we can really specifically target the music for very specific outcomes like improving language, improving movement, improving cognition, in fact, in ways perhaps that other interventions can’t. And it’s that’s the story that I think hasn’t been told as broadly yet. But the research is catching up now. There’s so much research to support, not just how music activates and impacts the brain, but specifically how it can change the brain. Yeah, and that’s the key for our patients.
Mindy Peterson: [00:24:01] Yeah, that is exciting. This specific product that you’ve been talking about in tandem, you said is really developed and researched on stroke patients. Are you also using it for some of those other conditions that you mentioned earlier in the discussion, like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, things like that?
Brian Harris: [00:24:19] Yeah, we’ve well, I’ll start out by saying the rhythmic auditory stimulation as an intervention over the past 30 years has been studied successfully across a number of disease states from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, varying phases of stroke, etcetera. And we’ve done or in the process of clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease, in multiple sclerosis, in chronic stroke, as I mentioned, we have a couple of publications in chronic stroke looking at some interesting outcomes. And we’re also starting to look at some rare diseases as well, some rare brain diagnoses and really the power of the mechanism of action. And so to speak, the the power of auditory motor entrainment is really based upon human music perception and production. So the objective impact that music can have on the human brain, and we get really excited about the potential that can have really across many different diagnoses that impact movement. But we’re, you know, for now in stroke Ms.. Parkinson’s disease and starting to look at some rare brain diseases as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:25:22] What about brain.
Brian Harris: [00:25:23] Injury? Well, in the clinic, when we were when we were treating patients and as our clinicians are treating patients still in the hospital. And when I was treating patients at Spaulding, much of the work we were doing in gait training in rhythmic auditory stimulation was in traumatic brain injury, where we were seeing interesting results. You know, anecdotally, though, we have not done a study in traumatic brain injury yet. There is some early research in traumatic brain injury as it relates to rhythmic auditory stimulation. That looks promising.
Mindy Peterson: [00:25:53] Okay. You’ve mentioned some other applications of this type of intervention for speech, language, cognition, memory, things like that. Are there any exciting advancements or innovations that MedRhythms has in the works that you can share with us?
Brian Harris: [00:26:09] Well, right now, you know, as we think about the products that we’re building, we’re really focused on walking. And actually we’re really focused on our first product in chronic stroke and being able to build out from there. You know, there’s a really big unmet need for patients to to improve walking across diagnoses. And so that’s where we’re focused for now. Our clinical team, our therapy team is treating patients across movement language cognition as well. And what gets exciting in those areas is as we think about just broadly, music and neuroscience and the impact of music on the human brain. It’s really being studied around the world at academic and healthcare institutions at an unprecedented rate. To demonstrate the quantitative impact that music can have on outcomes, there’s a sound health initiative at the NIH and Francis Collins and Renee Fleming that are really pushing there at a national level, and we’re just seeing the amount of research that’s happening now in this area, broadly, of music and neuroscience is really, really encouraging.
Mindy Peterson: [00:27:10] Do you have a favorite success story that you can share with us that really demonstrates the impact of music via the MedRhythms products, just how this therapy has transformed a patient’s life?
Brian Harris: [00:27:23] Well, I love to tell the story actually of of sort of where this all began. And the reason I love to tell this story is because it was really a a tremendous outcome. But also we have a video of it on our website. And it was actually when I was working in the hospital. So this was pre-product, but it was really the seed that planted in me to say, we really need to do something about this intervention to bring this to more people. And it was with a patient that I had named George, and George had had a stroke, and he had what we would consider to be a typical presentation of walking post-stroke. So he was walking with a cane. He had a right sided hemiparesis, so his right side was not taking the same sized steps as his left side. He was taking very short steps, very slow steps. And he had had about three weeks of physical therapy at Spaulding, where he was getting physical therapy 5 or 6 days a week for about an hour per session. So he had somewhere between 15 and 20 sessions of physical therapy when I met him, and we started doing rhythmic auditory stimulation in the hospital. And over the course of the first session, which was 45 minutes, George went from walking with a cane to walking for the first time, post-stroke, without a cane.
Brian Harris: [00:28:41] Oh wow. His symmetry improved significantly, his stride length improved significantly, and he was able to improve his speed, stride length, symmetry, and the distance that he walked within just that first session. And we have a video of this online of his sort of baseline on that day one, and then the baseline at the end of the session. And at the end of the session, he was able to walk without his cane. Wow. And it was really just a profound session, and we were lucky enough to actually film it. We actually have it on film. Oh, and so that was really the basis actually, I shared that video in essentially all of the sessions that I do, or all of the lectures that I give on music and neuroscience to show the power of rhythmic auditory stimulation. But it also was the seed to say, when we see outcomes like this in the hospital, and we can explain not only why this is possible, but also how we can replicate this and standardize it from an intervention perspective. Why doesn’t everybody on Earth have access to this when they have a neurologic injury or disease? And that was really the foundation for saying, well, we need to take action and do something about it, which is why we started to build products at MedRhythms to try to do that.
Mindy Peterson: [00:29:59] Wow, that sounds like an extra extraordinary outcome. Is that common or was that unusual? Did George have a background in music that you feel helped him respond even more quickly and efficiently to the treatment?
Brian Harris: [00:30:12] I love that question. And what’s interesting is as we think about outcomes, the outcomes, like you just explained with George, or if you if you check out the video on YouTube that you may see, certainly not everybody is going to have that same outcome, right? So not everybody is going to see in one session that type of improvement. But George isn’t the only one. There are multiple patients that we’ve treated that have that type of outcome, either within a session or over the course of multiple weeks of treatment, because the intervention works and we understand why it works. And it’s interesting as we think about how that could be applied across the spectrum outside of stroke. When we think about treating patients in Parkinson’s disease, we have seen these types of really profound improvements, and it’s really exciting.
Mindy Peterson: [00:30:59] Wow. Do you do you notice any difference, even if it’s just anecdotal between patients who have a music background or music training of some kind or don’t?
Brian Harris: [00:31:10] Yeah. And what gets really exciting about answering that question is there isn’t research really that I’ve seen or in our practice to support that the functional outcome changes from musicians to non-musicians. Now, I will say when we talk about working with patients and we say, hey, walk to the beat of the music, that’s typically an instruction that we give as clinicians at the beginning that might make more sense to somebody who’s a musician, just to say, okay, I get it, or I’m more comfortable with doing that. However, the actual we’ve seen that non-musicians can entrain as well. There’s no musical training that’s required to walk to the beat of the music, and we have not seen any correlation to the end clinical outcomes in terms of speed, symmetry, stride length. Et cetera. For musicians versus non-musicians.
Mindy Peterson: [00:32:00] Okay. Interesting. Tell us where things are in terms of your products with FDA approval with I know you mentioned that they can be prescribed. Is this something that’s reimbursed by insurance companies. Give us a little update on that. Yeah.
Brian Harris: [00:32:15] We’re we’re it’s an exciting moment in the history of the company. As about a month ago, we we listed our first product with the FDA in tandem for chronic stroke. And that will be coming to market soon. And so we’re excited to be working to get that into the hands of patients that need it. You know, our products and Ms.. And Parkinson’s disease are going through the clinical trial process. You know, there’s a long and multi-phase process to build the evidence that you need, but with the intention as well, that these would be prescription products that eventually can get into the hands of of patients that need it. And so as we think about that prescription product, we’re hoping in the very near future that, you know, doctors will be able to prescribe and we’ll be able to get these into those patients hands.
Mindy Peterson: [00:32:56] Wonderful. What do you recommend for listeners who want to learn more about MedRhythms products, whether they’re a good candidate for treatment? I’ll definitely include a link to your website in the show notes. Any other recommendations that you have for listeners to learn more?
Brian Harris: [00:33:12] Yeah, I mean, I encourage people to go to the website w-w-w dot MedRhythms.com, and from there you can actually access our therapy services website too. So the clinicians are actually doing 1 to 1 treatment. But you can see lots of background information about the science that underpins the the products that we’re building. But also you’ll see more about those videos that I was discussing. So you can see with your own eyes, you know, the improvements that are that are possible here and really learn more about the power of this thing that we all love called music.
Mindy Peterson: [00:33:44] Aha. I believe you also had Med Rhythms newsletter that people can sign up for an E! Newsletter. There’s a blog and brains with Brian. Is that a podcast? A YouTube podcast?
Brian Harris: [00:33:58] Yeah, it’s our brains with Brian is a is a sort of videocast. So a podcast with video that I started a couple of years ago, interviewing some of our scientific advisory board members. We’ve been very lucky to have some, some world renowned researchers and neurologists across disease states working with us in this journey and where I’ve interviewed them to talk about their expertise and with the lens of of hoping to make the science about these disease states and the science about interventions accessible to everyone who from patients and caregivers and professionals who are in health care. And it’s been really a that’s been a fun thing for me to do, to have these conversations. And all of those links are on our website as well. We also have a LinkedIn page and a Facebook page that we update regularly, so you can follow the journey there as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:34:47] Fabulous! Lots of channels to check out. Well, this has been fascinating. Brian, I ask all my guests to close out our conversation with a musical ending, a coda by sharing a. A song or story about a moment that music enhanced your life. You kind of shared one, I guess already about George, but is there any other song or story that you want to share with us in closing?
Brian Harris: [00:35:09] Well, it’s very interesting because when you ask that question about a time that sort of music really inspired me or impacted me, there is a single moment in my journey where music changed my life, and I feel fortunate to have experienced that, and that was actually prior to me choosing to become a music therapist. But I was in my undergrad. I went to the University of Maine for my undergraduate career, and I had an opportunity to intern with, at the time, the only private practicing music therapist in the state of Maine, where I was just learning what music therapy was, how it worked, and I got to spend a summer with him as he was treating people. And he was not a neurologic music therapist, so he was not trained in the neuroscience of music. He was more of a traditional music therapist, really focusing on quality of life outcomes, emotional outcomes. But he was working with the very first session that I saw of live music therapy. He was working with a boy who was 18 years old, but physically and cognitively functioning at about a one year old level, so very severely impaired was wheelchair bound, nonverbal, so very low functioning. And they brought this boy into the room and the music therapist started doing live music with him. It was in the form of a piano. And within the first ten minutes of him being exposed to this live music intervention, he began to function cognitively at a higher level than what anybody in his life had seen before.
Brian Harris: [00:36:44] So his the people that worked with him at the day program that we were at every day, and his family came into the room and they were literally in tears because they couldn’t believe how this boy was functioning in response to the the music. And I knew at that very moment that a, that this was my calling in life, that I needed to be using music in this way to help people. But number two, while I knew what I had just witnessed, was a magical moment, I knew that there was must be a reason in this boy’s brain that allowed him to respond the way that he did to music. And if we could answer that question of why, then that’s really when we could harness the power of music and replicate it to help a lot of people. And that was the moment that not only did I decide that I was going to become a music therapist, but that the lens by which I pursued was answering those questions via the lens of neuroscience, so that we could figure out as much as possible, how we could standardize and replicate it to make a big impact in the world.
Transcribed by Sonix.ai