Patients who are undergoing stroke rehabilitation may benefit from listening to music, Finnish researchers have said.
A study at the University of Helsinki analysed 60 stroke patients and found that those who were allowed to listen to their own choice of music for a couple of hours a day during the first two months of recovery tended to show greater improvements in cognitive and emotional recovery.
Patients benefited in terms of their verbal memory and ability to perform mental operations, and were less depressed and confused.
The researchers, whose findings are published in the journal Brain, suggest that music could be a "valuable addition" to standard stroke rehabilitation methods.
Study author Teppo Sarkamo said: "These differences in cognitive recovery can be directly attributed to the effect of listening to music.
"Rather than an alternative, music listening should be considered as an addition to other active forms of therapy, such as speech therapy or neuropsychological rehabilitation."
An estimated 150,000 people have a stroke every year in the UK, according to the Stroke Association.