Music Cognition in Breast Cancer Survivors

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Publication Date

January 2011

Publication Title

Music and Medicine

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Advances in breast cancer treatment have resulted in improved survival rates and concomitant reports of chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction. Music cognition, a form of general cognition, also may be negatively affected by chemotherapy. Moreover, chemotherapy may have general ototoxic effects. The goal of this study was to explore whether breast cancer survivors (BCS) had similar hearing thresholds and music cognition abilities compared with age-matched healthy controls (HC). A total of 56 women (28 BCS and 28 HC) completed the audiometric tests and the Montreal Battery Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA). Results indicate the 2 groups have similar hearing thresholds. A comparison of music cognition variables suggests possible differences in some music cognition tasks, with HC scoring slightly, but not significantly, better in melodic perception. The BCS scored slightly better, though not significantly, on melodic memory. An adequately powered study including cognitive variables is needed for verification of findings and to establish clinical meaningfulness.