Improved Colon Cancer Detection With

Doctors who download Mozart while performing colonoscopies have higher chances of detecting adenomas, a polyp that is a precursor to colon cancer. This is according to researchers Catherine Noelle O'Shea, DO, and David Wolf, MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) Medical School.

The pilot study, "The 'Mozart Effect' and Adenoma Detection," was presented at the American College of Gastroenterology's (ACG) 76th Annual Scientific meeting in Washington, D.C.

Though the study was small (only Dr. Wolf and another experienced gastroenterologist participated in the study), the findings were encouraging.

According to a UT Health press release:

To find out if listening to Mozart could enhance colonoscopies, the researchers devised a test involving experienced doctors and their ability to detect adenomas, a type of polyp that is a true precursor to invasive colon cancer.

Both doctors normally detect at least one adenoma in 21 to 27 percent of their patients. The test determined their detection rates when the music was on and when it was off.

Wolf, who was aware of the study, had a detection rate of 38 percent with the music on and 41 percent with it off. The other doctor, who was blinded to the study, had an adenoma detection rate of 67 percent with the music on and 30 percent with it off.

The findings are preliminary, and more research is needed. "Our next step will involve more physicians, more colonoscopies, and the possible addition of different music types, but still with an arm with Mozart," Dr. Wolf said in the press release.

Why Mozart and Not Madonna?

Though doctors have been known to listen to a variety of music while performing surgery, Dr. O'Shea chose Mozart over other classical artists because of its so-called Mozart Effect: the significant short-term improvement in spatial temporal reasoning   which results from listening to the classical arrangements.

The pieces selected for surgery included Mozart's "Overture to the Marriage of Figaro" performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Rondo-Allegro from "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" performed by the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra.

More About Colorectal Cancer

According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. About 147,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, and more than 57,000 people die from the disease.

Patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis have an increased risk for the disease. However, being age 50 or older, eating a diet high in saturated fats, or a family history of the disease puts you at higher risk. If you have any of these risk factors, you may need earlier or more frequent tests.

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include blood in the stool, narrower stools, a change in bowel habits, and general stomach discomfort. Symptoms may not be present until the disease has progressed, making routine screening a priority.

Discuss and symptoms as well as your risk factors for developing colorectal cancer with your doctor. She can make you aware of ways to reduce your risk- which includes colonoscopies beginning at the age of 50 or earlier if you have an elevated risk.




Press Release. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School; November 29, 2011

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. About Colorectal Cancer. Web

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic Information About Colorectal Cancer. Web