I had a funny experience about rats while observing my one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme in Garkawa, Plateau state. In the compound where I lived, someone made ‘kulikuli’ one evening and she gave me some. I put the bowl of kulikuli in my room (I lived in a round hut) without covering it.

In the night, a rat visited the kulikuli bowl, thereby disrupting my sleep.

Rats rank pretty high in terms of olfactory abilities. In fact, Harvard research shows that they are highly sensitive to smells. With such outstanding olfactory senses, it is not strange that food items can attract rats.

There is an outbreak of Lassa fever in the country now, you need to start taking some preventive measures. Since humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats, avoid contact with rodents, especially in areas where Lassa fever is common. Keep your house clean and make sure foods are in closed containers.

We have an unfinished business. Let us proceed:

Some evidence suggests music can boost the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells. These cells can help prevent infections and tumors from spreading. Researchers found that group drumming can be especially beneficial for improving immune function. But they also said any musical activities that provide the opportunity for socialization and creative self-expression may help support immune health.

According to another small study, when people with cancer sang in a group choir for one hour, they showed significant increases in cytokines, which are proteins that play a critical role in making the immune system function.

A study with healthy older adults found that those with 10 or more years of musical experience scored higher on cognitive tests than musicians with one to nine years of musical study. The non-musicians scored the lowest. “Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older,” says lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy.

Exercise enthusiasts have long known that music enhances their physical performance. A 2020 research review confirms that working out with music improves your mood, helps your body exercise more efficiently and cuts down on your awareness of exertion. Working out with music also leads to longer workouts.

In clinical settings, athletes who listened to high-intensity, fast music during warm-ups were motivated to perform better competitively.

Research shows that syncing your workout to music can allow you to reach peak performance using less oxygen than if you did the same workout without the beat. Music acts as a metronome in your body, researchers said.

Specially trained music therapists use music to help alleviate pain in inpatient and outpatient settings. A 2016 meta-analysis of over 90 studies reported that music helps people manage both acute and chronic pain better than medication alone.

Research at Drexel University in Philadelphia found that music therapy and pre-recorded music reduced pain more than standard treatments in cancer patients. Other research showed that music can decrease pain in intensive care patients and geriatric care patients but the selection needed to be classical pieces, meditative music or songs of the patient’s choosing.

A study showed that students who listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before turning in slept significantly better than students who listened to an audiobook or did nothing different from their normal routine.

Researchers found that listening to relaxing music before surgery decreases anxiety. In fact, it is even more effective than being orally administered a medication often used to help pre-op patients feel sleepy. Other studies showed that listening to soothing music while resting in bed after open heart surgery increases relaxation.

A study has shown that after one month of music lessons with children between the ages of four and six, 90% significantly improved their ability to understand words and explain their meaning. Other research found that musically trained women and children outperformed those who were not involved in music when completing a verbal memory test.

According to Dr. Alan Harvey, a neuroscientist, “Levels of the hormone oxytocin (in the bloodstream) are raised when people are signing together. Oxytocin is associated with empathy, trust and relationship building. Our sensitivity to pain and stress hormone cortisol decreases when we are involved in group music-making activity.”

“Because music has a calming effect on the nervous system, it may also help lower your blood pressure, says Dr Po-Chang Hsu, a medical content expert and writer at Sleeping Ocean.

“When we sing, our neurotransmitters connect in new and different ways, releasing endorphins that make us smarter, healthier, happier and more creative. And when we do this with other people, the effect is amplified,” says Tania De Jong, an Australian soprano, social entrepreneur, businesswoman, motivational speaker and event producer.

A study titled Therapeutic Effects of Music: A Review by Hosseini et Al, concludes that music can have positive effects on pain, sleep disorders, learning, memory, IQ, depression, anxiety and special diseases such as schizophrenia and autism.

A study titled Music and the Brain: The Neuroscience of Music and Musical Appreciation by Trimble et al concludes that music can decrease seizure frequency, stop refractory status epilepticus and decrease electroencephalographic spike frequency in children with epilepsy in awake and sleep states.

A study titled How Do Music Activities Affect Health and Well-Being? A Scoping Review of Studies Examining Psychosocial Mechanisms by Dingle et al concludes that there is emerging evidence that specific music activities may be recommended for specific psychosocial purposes and specific health conditions. Music activities offer a rich and underutilized resource for health and well-being to participants of diverse ages, backgrounds and settings

Music brings us pleasure and releases our suffering. It can calm us down and pump us up. It helps us manage pain, run faster, sleep better and be more productive.

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”

“Music is a great healer. Begin and end your day with music.”

“Listening to music has a positive impact on our health, by helping us recover faster when we experience stress and through the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, to help us achieve a calm state or homeostasis.”

 “Music has the power to heal, transform and inspire and we have the power through deep listening to increase our intuition and self-awareness.”

“Music is such an effective tool for therapy because it is an incredibly complex phenomenon. Music is one of the only things in life that processes information on both sides of the brain at once.”