Musical doctors more in tune

briefing: Health
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Music is good for your doctor, researchers have found. The capacity to sing an aria or play a sonata may make the difference between a great diagnostician and a run of the mill physician.

A study of doctors' skill with the stethoscope has shown that a musical ear can give a medic the edge in detecting abnormalities of the heart and lungs.

Results of the study of 450 specialists and GPs showed that, overall, the performance of the doctors was poor, with four out of five common heart problems that can be picked up by stethoscope going undetected. The researchers, from the Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Philadelphia, US, describe this finding is "disturbingly low".

However, those able to play a musical instrument were better at the task than those who weren't. "A trained ear, whatever, the reason for its training, may be a pre-requisite for achieving proficiency in this skill," they write in the Journal of the American Medical Association.