BACKGROUND: Music therapy is a promising approach widening the potential applications of psychotherapy. Music influences both, psychologic and physiologic parameters, and children are especially responsive to this form of therapy. Many aspects of its action mechanisms remain to be elucidated, underscoring the need for evidence-based medicine (EBM) for clinical use of music therapy. AIMS: This review seeks to highlight some of the issues of music therapy research and to initiate a discussion about the need for international multicenter cooperation to bring scientifically sound evidence of the benefits of music therapy in pediatric patients. METHODS: Scientific bibliographic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials on use of music therapy for children. Identified articles were evaluated according to criteria for scientific quality. RESULTS: Twenty-eight studies were identified. Most of the trials were biased by the number of participants, and some trials showed the need to improve design of control groups. Indeed, the novelty of this area of study has produced a large number of different studies (with variability in diagnoses, interventions, control groups, duration, and/or outcome parameters), and there is a need for a more homogeneous and systematic approach. Available studies highlight the need to address reproducibility issues. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis identifies the need for a subsequent series of clinical studies on the efficacy of music in the pediatric population, with more focus on eligibility criteria with respect to EBM and reproducibility.
J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Oct;16(10):1089-95. Mrázová M, Celec P. Department of Child Psychiatry, Charles University, 2nd Medical School, Prague, Czech Republic.