‘Music as Medicine’ Project by Ex Nokia Design Team Chief, Marko Ahtisaari

| July 16, 2015 | 1 Reply


Marko Ahtisaari, known to Nokia fans as one of the ex N9 guys who could actually speak properly about a new exciting Nokia product. Marko was of course also the ex Nokia’s design chief. He is now taking up a CEO position of the “The Sync Project“. This investigates the potential of music and its therapeutic effects.

Music can definitely change our moods and our psychological well being may be connected to the rest of our body. Some believe in the mozart effect, and how this supposedly improved cognitive abilities in the unborn. We have music apps that either match our mood or help change it (e.g. sleep apps filled with music to help us doze off). Here are a couple of documented journal papers on the effects of music as medicine. Just a random quick top two results on Pubmed and there’s thousands more:

…Music therapy applies this arousal in a clinical setting as it may offer benefits to patients by diverting their attention from unpleasant experiences and future interventions. It has been applied in the context of various important clinical conditions such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer pain, epilepsy, depression and dementia. Furthermore, music may modulate the immune response, among other things, evidenced by increasing the activity of natural killer cells, lymphocytes and interferon-γ, which is an interesting feature as many diseases are related to a misbalanced immune system. Many of these clinical studies, however, suffer from methodological inadequacies. Nevertheless, at present, there is moderate but not altogether convincing evidence that listening to known and liked music helps to decrease the burden of a disease and enhances the immune system by modifying stress. (2014)


Music therapy on psychological outcomes in cancer patients:

Conclusion: The findings of this study advocate for the use of music in cancer care. Treatment benefits may depend on patient characteristics such as outlook on life and readiness to explore emotions related to the cancer experience. (2015)

So that’s just the tip of another tip of an iceberg, advocating the use of music as medicinal therapy (in certain scenarios). What’s Marko’s team aiming to do? Map music characteristics to objective physiological responses.

“The Sync Project’s mission is to develop music as medicine. We are bringing together the scientists, technologists, clinicians and musicians of the world to accelerate the discovery of the clinical applications of music. We’re building a data platform that maps music characteristics to real time, objective measurements of physiology from a rapidly growing variety of sensors and devices.”

Marko’s inaugural speech can be read here:

…Music is such an integral part of our lives that it is difficult to imagine a world without it. Music seems to be one of the defining features of our species. It dates back to the very origins of the human race and has endured all the subsequent changes in culture and cognition. Throughout history, music has served a multitude of purposes in human culture, all of which stem from music’s unique power in influencing our mental and physiological states and social interactions. With the advent of modern science, we are finally able to take a peek at the mechanisms behind what makes music so important and so powerful in regulating our emotions, and shaping our thoughts and interactions. Through this understanding we can start using music in an informed and targeted way, in support of overall wellbeing and health.

What I found pleasing is that Marko’s speech at the end is filled with journal references at the end. 21 of them and they range from the effects on learning, emotions like anxiety, behaviour, pain relief, dementia, on athletes (I definitely feel like I can run further depending on the music, the pace of the music. Same when in clubs, I feel I can stay out longer, dance more if I like the music).

Task one is to bring all the relevant people together.

Via: TheVerge

Cheers Alvester for the tip!


Category: Nokia

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]