Partnership to Expand Prescription Music Catalog for Walking Therapy

Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD avatar

by Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD |

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MedRhythms, which is pioneering rhythmic auditory stimulation to improve walking ability in people with neurological disorders, has now launched a partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG) — owner of a vast catalog of recordings and songs — to expand its prescription music offerings to patients.

The collaboration will allow MedRhythms to have access to UMG’s diverse catalog of music in providing “entrainment” therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other disorders.

Using MedRhythms’ patented platform, rhythmic cues are matched with bodily movements — such as walking in time to the beat of a song — in a process called entrainment, which seeks to improve users’ walking speed and cadence by syncing their movements to regular beats.

“Partnering with UMG is a milestone for MedRhythms that will unlock innumerable doors to improving the quality of care we deliver to patients,” Brian Harris, CEO and co-founder of MedRhythms, said in a press release.

“This partnership will afford us the opportunity to leverage patient-preferred music to provide top clinical outcomes and build a product that patients are excited to use,” Harris said.

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Within the brain, some of the same pathways involved in controlling movement are also involved in processing auditory signals. Entrainment is the “syncing” of these processes. The company believes its prescription music platform can help to enhance neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to make new connections in response to new information, stimulation, or development.

“Music has the power to transcend borders, cultures and languages to connect people and elevate the quality of life around the world,” said Michael Nash, UMG’s executive vice president of digital strategy.

“Now, with MedRhythms, we’re seeing the power of music harnessed to heal. Our innovative collaboration with MedRhythms will enable UMG to help enhance neurologic treatment for patients across the U.S.,” he said.

UMG, according to Nash, has promoted music’s importance throughout the health and wellness industry, specifically with fitness, sleep, and meditation.

“In this pioneering alliance [with MedRhythms], we’re privileged to be engaged in extending music’s profound impact to medical therapy,” Nash said.

MedRhythms’ digital platform works by curating and screening music content, via its patented process, to customize interventions to each user. Initially, the process analyzes music for the right characteristics to make it therapeutically valuable, after which it creates specialized clinical interventions for each patient.

By combining forces with UMG, a leader in music-based entertainment, MedRhythms can offer patients a more diverse and culturally rich collection of music.

The goal, according to Harris, is “to continue to push the envelope in both music and medicine while making a significant impact in the lives of patients who desperately need this care.” MedRhythms.

According to the two companies, the partnership is among the first of its kind and will help MedRhythms build on its prescription music service, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

MedRhythms’ flagship product, MR-001, received breakthrough device designation from the FDA in June 2020. That device, intended to help those living with chronic stroke walking deficits, showed positive early results in clinical trials.

recently launched clinical trial is evaluating MR-005, an experimental digital therapy that uses sensors, music, and software to improve walking ability, in patients with Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders. That multi-site study is evaluating MR-005’s clinical efficacy when used remotely in a home setting.

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