Music as Precision Medicine: Q&A with Sync Project CEO Marko Ahtisaari

From the website of The Sync Project:

ScreenHunter_2032 Jun. 16 11.56WHAT IS IT?

The Sync Project is a biotech company developing music as precision medicine.

Intuitively we know the power that music has over us. We use music to regulate mood, to get pumped up, to work out, to relax. There is also strong directional evidence in science. Recent research has shown that music affects the same neural pathways that are regulated by pharmaceuticals such as psychostimulants and other drugs.

The Sync Project is building on this foundation and partnering with the world’s leading scientists and musicians on the first-ever large-scale studies to measure how the structural properties of music – like beat, key and timbre – impact biometrics such as heart rate, brain activity and sleep patterns.

We’ve built the mobile app and platform to gather this dataset and have started collecting data across a range of conditions. The platform integrates with streaming music services (like Spotify) and biometric sensors (like Apple Watch, Basis Peak, MUSE, ŌURA Ring and others). We then apply machine learning to this unique dataset to develop personalized music therapeutics. Think of us as a biometric recommendation engine for music.

Our goal is the clinical application of music in a variety of health conditions including sleep disorders, fatigue, movement disorders, stroke recovery, anxiety and pain.


Quite serious. The Sync Project is based on the best neuroscience and clinical studies on the health effects of music. Take the example of pain. It may seem surprising, but studies have shown that when people are played the right music after an operation they request less opioids (pain medication). Opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and it often begins with a prescription for pain medication following surgery or injury. We need to pursue alternative solutions for managing pain and other conditions, and clinically-validated, personalized music therapeutics present a promising option.

More here.