Ep 106 -- Using Music to Walk Again with Brian Harris

Music has the power to take us back in time to a fuzzy, nostalgic past. Or it can take us into a future we aspire too. It can show us history or connect us with God. It can take us deep into the emotional side of our brain and help us transcend our present.

 As I invested time with my therapists, Lin Manuel Miranda's lyrics helped keep me going,

Just like my country, am young, scrappy, and hungry, and I'm not throwing away my shot 

My Shot, Lin-Manuel Miranda

And even in the dark days, Billy Joel reminds me that

The good old days weren't always so good and tomorrow's not as bad as it seems.

Keepin' the Faith, Billy Joes

Music can take us to a different place metaphorically, and now, literally. Medrythms uses a system of sensors and specific music tracks to help stroke survivors learn to walk.

The US Food and Drug Administration recently accepted the Digital Therapeutics Platform for Walking from Medrythms into the Breakthrough devices program. This program streamlines the approval process for certain medical devices.

I talked with CEO and Co-founder Brian Harris to learn more.


Brian Harris keeps his back to a brick wall as he looks at the camera.

Brian Harris is the Co-Founder and CEO of MedRhythms, a digital therapeutics company focused on the intersection music, neuroscience and technology. 

Brian is a board-certified music therapist and one of 300 Neurologic Music Therapist Fellows in the world.

Brian’s clinical work was focused at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where he created and implemented their first inpatient full time Neurologic Music Therapy program, specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, and neurologic disease and built this program to be the most comprehensive NMT program in the country. 

Brian is also the Chair of the Arts & Neuroscience group at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and sits on the Advisory Council of the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy. He has been an invited speaker at numerous venues throughout the world at venues including: the American Academy of Neurosurgeons, Harvard Medical School, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, Stanford University, Berklee College of Music, The Neurology Foundation of India, and Google. 

His work has also been featured in Forbes, CNBC, The Huffington Post, Pitchfork, Mashable, The Boston Herald, XConomy, MedTech Boston and on Chronicle Boston.

Brian is an inventor on 2 patents related to MedRhythms digital therapeutic platform and was recently named to MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators for 2017.

Rhythmic Audio Stimulation in Action


Google News Alerts

A Google News alert  is a daily email digest from Google with links to news and article about a particular key word.  You can set one or more up here https://www.google.com/alerts

I have one running for neuroscience and another for stroke. It's how I first hearrd about Medrhythms and the fast track program

Set one up for your own area of interest to give it a try.

Hack of the Week

Make music a part of your life. Listen to music. Create music. Sing. Do it by yourself or with friends and family at a distance or online. Play an instrument. Or just play music while you walk and exercise.

Adding music can be simple and powerful.


Where do we go from here?


Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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