Tel Aviv neurologist, Rivka Inzelberg, just completed a study showing why people under treatment for Parkinson’s become more creative. Apparently, it is common for those with the disease to express artistic interest and passion, even if creating art was not necessarily important to them before becoming patients.
Inzelberg is currently a professor at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sagol Neuroscience Center at Sheba Medical Center; along with researchers, she began studying the surprising phenomenon, having already published her notes from a previous study in 2013, particularly noting their physical limitations did not stop their dreams.
The new study had an unprecedented discovery: People with Parkinson’s are indeed more creative than their non-Parkinson’s peers, because of the dopamine-stimulating medication they take to suppress their tremors. She also found that more dopamine results in–you guessed it–more creativity.
While Inzelberg can’t say that all Parkinson’s patients should be prescribed art classes, she definitely supports patients having access to studying and producing art as a means to feel connected to themselves and others more fully, stating it can also reduce depression,
“After my first paper, I helped organize exhibits of patients’ paintings in Herzliya and Ra’anana…These exhibits were useful in raising funds for Parkinson’s research, providing occupational therapy for patients and, most importantly, offering an opportunity for patients to fully express themselves.”
We can’t help but see the benefits in providing art classes for Parkinson’s patients, since self-expression is therapeutic for everyone. Maybe science and art don’t have to be distant cousins after all.