Voice Foundation’s 40th Annual Meeting Introduces A Multidimensional Remote Consultative Strategy for Performers Presented by Cleveland Clinic and Yamaha Music & Wellness Physicians

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Physicians introduce cutting-edge remote diagnostic strategies for both musicians and vocal performers.

“Essentially this is the beginning of a new era in performance medicine,” added Dr. Benninger.

Physicians from the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute (YMWI) and the Cleveland Clinic recently presented a symposium entitled, From the Genome to the Globe: transcending the boundaries of music & medicine at the Voice Foundation’s 40th annual meeting held in Philadelphia, PA on June 3, 2011. Neurologist Barry Bittman, MD, YMWI CEO; Otolaryngologist Michael Benninger, MD, Chairman – Head and Neck Institute of the Cleveland Clinic; and Neurologist Neil Cherian, MD, YMWI Chairman of the YMWI Professional Advisory Board and Director of the Center for Performance Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, introduced a series of unprecedented cutting-edge remote diagnostic strategies for both musicians and vocal performers.

Through internet-based multimedia connections with health professionals and a patient at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Benninger demonstrated a live, interactive consultation which included an actual real-time evaluation of the vocal folds as well as an assessment of the patient while singing. This distance-based virtual evaluation is likely the first time that a voice patient has been evaluated in this fashion. The patient was present with Dr. Douglas Hicks, Section Head of the Cleveland Clinic Department of Otolaryngology and his team in Cleveland. With an accompaniment by George Litterst, developer of Internet-MIDI, a software program that remotely controlled a Yamaha grand piano in Philadelphia, the patient sang and interacted with physicians and voice professionals in the Philadelphia audience.

“Today’s fascinating demonstration represents a true breakthrough — the first time we can actually deliver high-level interdisciplinary care to performers throughout the world,” noted Robert Sataloff, MD, Voice Foundation chairman and internationally renowned otolaryngologist, professional singer, conductor and author of over 700 publications including 39 textbooks. “The ability to directly link performers to specialists utilizing this unique combination of technologies literally opens the door globally to quality care never possible before. From our perspective at the Voice Foundation, this innovative approach is certain to catalyze our mission to advance voice medicine, science and education.”

Dr. Cherian wholeheartedly agrees. In his lecture, he discussed elements of the medical care of the performer and how that fits into a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Cherian then demonstrated elements of the remote evaluation of a pianist using ProformaVision, a multidimensional feedback-based tool that combines real-time surface EMG (muscle recordings) with MIDI data for pianists. This was presented in collaboration with Dr. Kathleen Riley, the originator of the piano evaluation program, who appeared live from New York. “The benefits of offering interdisciplinary care to performers worldwide extend beyond just diagnosis or treatment,” added Dr. Cherian. “Access is key — many performers suffering from devastating symptoms do not know how or where to get the care they need to move on with their careers and lives. The opportunity to connect with an interdisciplinary team of experts has the potential to ultimately translate into an ongoing successful career rather than the continued dysfunction or progressive decline of a talented individual. We can effectively work with performers to make a remarkable difference in their lives.”

Bittman’s vision of integrating music and medicine extends beyond that which we can see, hear and feel. His presentation focused on the ability of creative music expression to reduce the impact of stress on the genomic level. Bittman discussed his original genomic research demonstrating that creative musical expression can serve as an effective stress reduction strategy. To illustrate his perspectives, composer/performer Jarrod Radnich, a young man whose music enabled him to move past the challenges of a life-threatening medical illness, remotely accompanied Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick, a phenomenally inspirational vocalist and recipient of a double lung transplant.

Bittman commented, “both Jarrod and Charity have clearly persevered against extraordinary odds and have accomplished the unimaginable! They’ve shown that the true potential of music’s role within contemporary healthcare extends far beyond mere symptom reduction. Our collective efforts must focus on the whole person and better understanding the mechanisms that underlie their successes. Along with Drs. Cherian, Benninger and other renowned experts at the Cleveland Clinic, we’re about to take the science of active music participation to a new and exciting level.”

“Essentially this is the beginning of a new era in performance medicine,” added Dr. Benninger. “Utilizing advanced medical and communications technologies to more effectively share our knowledge of both the clinical and scientific breakthroughs in this field will undoubtedly result in markedly improved care for performers throughout the world.”

“I’m deeply inspired by the many people on our team who worked together to launch this project,” Bittman said. “We also look forward to working closely with Dr. Sataloff and the esteemed members of the Voice Foundation on future projects that will further advance the integration of music and medicine, fields that were once one and the same.”

During the Voice Foundation meeting, Dr. Bittman was honored with the VERA (Voice Education Research Awareness) Award along with Diane Rehm, host of NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and author of Finding My Voice; Diana Soviero, operatic soprano with an outstanding career of dedication to singing and teaching and Terry Stewart, CEO and President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Voice Foundation is the world’s oldest and leading organization dedicated to voice medicine, science and education. The Foundation is committed to enhancing the gift of vocal communication through: research to advance the diagnosis and treatment of vocal problems, including improved non-surgical and surgical techniques; sponsoring an annual, international symposium; publishing and distributing professional and scientific publications and video teaching materials; awarding research grants and fellowships; publishing a newsletter for the lay public; and disseminating information through the media to raise awareness of voice care. For more information, contact: The Voice Foundation - 1721 Pine Street Philadelphia, PA 19103, (215) 735-7999, FAX (215) 735-9293 Website: http://www.voicefoundation.org Email: office(at)voicefoundation(dot)org

The Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute serves as an organization of excellence dedicated to interdisciplinary development, scientific investigation, professional training and clinical amalgamation of active music participation strategies with integrative evidence-based medical insights for the purpose of enhancing quality of life for individuals of all ages regardless of race, ethnicity or disability. For more information, contact: The Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute – (814) 333-5061, FAX (814) 333-5067 Website: http://www.yamahainstitute.org Email: bbittman(at)mmchs(dot)org

The Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for-profit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,100 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. In addition to its main campus, Cleveland Clinic operates nine community hospitals and 15 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2012, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2009, there were more than 4.6 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 170,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Website: http://www.clevelandclinic.org


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