Science has shown music has a way of invoking memory. It’s been used to help people suffering from dementia reconnect to themselves and to their environment. Now, researchers are trying to figure out whether music can be used as therapy for people once considered unreachable.
By: Joanne Faryon and Megan Wood
Steven Nelson had decided he wanted to be a nurse. He had spent his teens in trouble and his early 20s in prison. Finally, in his mid-30s, with a steady job as a receptionist in an urgent care and five kids to support, he believed he had found his calling.
“He tried to get his life together,” said Gloria Hawkins, Steven’s mother.
The regret in her voice wells, as Hawkins recalls what had been the happiest moments of her son’s life, cut short by five bullets and a beating to the head at a San Diego nightclub in 2011.
Nelson, now 44, suffered a traumatic brain injury that was so severe he has been kept alive in a nursing home with breathing and feeding tubes for nearly seven years. He is unable to move his body, except for his left hand. He doesn’t speak.
But music may now be offering hope where there once was none, both in Nelson’s quality of life and in his ability to respond to the world around him.
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