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Mar. 21, 2012

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A new study presented at the 12th Annual Spring Meeting on Cardiovascular Nursing conference in Copenhagen earlier this month suggests that stroke victims who have an appreciation for art may enjoy better recoveries than those who don’t.

Researchers asked 192 stroke patients, who were 70 years old on average, whether or not they liked art. They found that the 105 who said they did tended to have better memory, more energy, less depression and superior walking and communication skills than the 97 participants who said they didn’t. The art lovers also seemed to be in better health overall.

“Identifying strategies to improve stroke recovery and patients’ quality of life represent a priority for the health care system and art exposure seems to be promising,” said the study’s lead author, Ercole Vellone, who is assistant professor at the University Tor Vergata’s School of Nursing in Rome, in a statement. Vellone suggested that introducing art into a patient’s life even after a stroke could have positive effects on mood.

"In our study the 'art' group of patients showed a comparable clinical picture to the 'no art' group,” Vellone added. “This is important because it means that patients belonging to the 'art' group had a better quality of life independently from the gravity of stroke. The results suggest that art may make long-term changes to the brain which help it recover when things go wrong."

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