We’re big fans of colonoscopies around our house. Well, maybe big fans is a bit strong. They aren’t the most pleasant of experiences, and they’re not the most polite dinner-table conversation subject you can think of (although that doesn’t stop Kerry from asking anybody, anywhere if they’ve had their colonoscopy). But they allowed us to catch her colon cancer at an early stage; my most recent one found a couple of polyps, so it’s helping me avoid cancer. So all in all, we’re fans of the colonoscopy.

Add to that the fact that Kerry and I both enjoy classical music, she’s a pianist, we have season tickets to the symphony, and we’re band parents since forever ago.

Then how cool is it to run across a recent statistical experimental study that suggests that doctors who listen to Mozart while performing a colonoscopy do a better job of finding and identifying precancerous polyps. (Who thinks up these studies, anyway?) One doctor’s detection rate went from 30% without Mozart to 66% with Mozart.

What explains the improvement? O’Shea said listening to Mozart seems to bring a short-term improvement in “spatial temporal reasoning” – another manifestation of the so-called “Mozart effect” that brain scientists have been talking about for years. In any case, she said, there’s clear evidence that higher detection rates are linked to a reduction in the incidence of colon cancer.

Maybe for our next round of colonoscopies we need to take in an iPod filled with Mozart to play for our doctors. I wonder if anybody has done a similar study using Metallica?

You can find the story here.

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