The Beat Goes On - Room 217 Foundation
The Beat Goes On
Lee Bartel, PhD
University of Toronto
The Beat Goes On:
Drums keep driving
rhythm to the brain
What is this session about?
the brain as a dynamic electro-wave device
the potential of sound and music to drive brainwaves
Bad things happen when brainwaves are dysregulated
Potentially music/sound therapy can re-regulate the
What was going on in her brain?
Concepts of brain
Computer mother board – hard wired, physical,
primary concern is about structure – physiology
We know quite a bit about this but it hasn’t explained
much about cognition or consciousness
Neurochemical swamp – it’s all about hormones and
neurotransmitters – chemistry
We know quite a bit about this but is doesn’t explain
The electrical system – brainwaves, nerve pulses -electrical
We know little about this – and it holds the most
of the Brain
Electrical activity uses the physiological structures
and is modified by chemical
Brain states – steady state neural activity
There is constant pulsation (firing) at the whole range
of frequencies (spontaneous)
Our states of being are somewhat related to electrical
power in specific ranges of frequency
Delta – sleep; Alpha – awake relaxed; Beta – problem
solving; High Beta – stress; Gamma??
Consciousness - ??
Parkinson’s – frozen movement
30 Hz on chair for 5 minutes
What was going on in his brain?
Really about Intra-brain communication – how the
various parts interact and communicate
Rhythmic oscillatory coherence – multiple neurons
must synchronize their “firing” for communication to
Circuits and Loops – e.g., motor circuit – cerebellum
& basal ganglia; thalamocortical loop.
Rhythm Driving Brain
Sound creates a “firing” of the auditory nerve – into the
thalamus – to the cortex.
So rhythmic repetitive sound creates brainwave
synchrony – oscillatory coherence
So when you listen to steady drumming – like shaman
drumming – there is a brain response at the frequency of
But it doesn’t have to be drumming – can be other regular
sound – like a Bach keyboard piece
This effect can also be at higher frequencies – e.g., 40Hz
Memory started to deteriorate
Moved into nursing home
Had not conversed with her husband for 2 years
Thought she was in a train station
Nextwave chair – 40 Hz, 5 minutes, 15 minutes
What was happening in her brain?
Back to Brain Wave
activity and Circuits
When “normal” rhythmic pulsation in specific circuits gets
dysregulated, problems arise.
Motor circuit dysregulation – Parkinson’s
Memory circuit dysregulation – Alzheimer’s
Mood circuit dysregulation – Major Depression
Sensory circuit dysregulation – Chronic Pain
Thalamocortical loop dysregulation: tinnitus, psychiatric, etc
Can sound re-regulate
the brain dysrhythmias?
Margaret - Sleep – delta state dysrhythmia –
Amol – Motor – Parkinson’s – 5 minutes of 30Hz
Heidi – memory – 15 minutes of 40Hz
Linda – fibromyalgia – 23 minutes of 40Hz – TCD
Depression – Fibromyalgia study
How else can drums driving
rhythm to the brain be used?
Cardio workout study
Likely to drop out
3 groups – (1) as usual; (2) music to walk by (3) punched
Effect strongest with punched up music – driving
To receive “On the MaHRC”
send email to: