Music Makes Good Medicine | God's World News

Music Makes Good Medicine

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    Cellular engineers found that certain types of music can force engineered “designer cells” to release insulin. (stock)
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    Mice with designer cells are exposed to music from a speaker. (Zhao et al., 2023 | Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology)
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    Many people with diabetes must inject insulin into their bodies daily. (AP/Rich Pedroncelli)
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    Music with booming bass—like the soundtrack to the movie The Avengers—best stimulated the cells to produce insulin. (Handout)
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    The scientists tested the effectiveness of different musical pieces. (Zhao et al., 2023 | Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology)
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Cellular engineers are among today’s pioneers. These medical innovators alter cells in order to restore vision, treat sickle cell disease, and fight blood cancers. Now they’re producing cells that can release insulin on demand.

Cellular engineering involves modifying cells on a genetic level. Altered cells can then perform a new job, restore lost function, or fight disease.

Recently, scientists have used cellular engineering to improve how drugs enter the body.

Diabetic patients must inject insulin daily. Swiss cellular engineers have discovered that certain types of music can force engineered “designer cells” to release insulin.

The approach gives cells a gene that causes the cells to respond to sound waves—similar to how God designed cells in the ear to work. The engineers enclose the altered cells in capsules and implant them in a body.

Researchers in Switzerland tried the designer cells in diabetic mice. Then they played music at certain volumes and with certain patterns and pitches. Certain music stimulated the cells to make insulin—enough in some cases to lower the mice’s blood sugar to normal levels.

Researchers found that music with booming bass worked best, like the soundtrack to the movie The Avengers. Classical and other gentler music styles weren’t as effective.

The nearness of the sound source also affected how well the engineered cells worked.

“Our designer cells release insulin only when the sound source with the right sound is played directly on the skin above the [cell] implant,” says lead researcher Martin Fussenegger.

One concern was whether other kinds of sounds or hearing the same music over again would affect the engineered cells—and cause them to release insulin too often. But Fussenegger’s research suggests that is not the case. Lawnmowers, sirens, and other common noises did not trigger the cells. Plus, the cells need time to replenish insulin stores.

More research must be done before engineered cells that respond to music could be used in humans. Nevertheless, cellular engineering is revolutionizing how doctors manage disease and deliver treatments.

This designer cell principle could be adapted for other medical uses. The discovery is music to the ears of millions of diabetic patients who must pump insulin into their bodies every day. Perhaps someday, they’ll be able to listen to tunes with the same result instead.

Why? Human ability to make scientific advances such as medical innovations comes from a gracious God who loves His creation.

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