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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

The relationship between music, medicine and nephrology is ancient; ranging from musicians afflicted with kidney disease, contributors to nephrology who were musicians, and the use of music to treat renal maladies. Musicians have long been afflicted by diseases of the kidney, particularly nephrolithiasis, for which Marin Marais in 1725 composed a unique piece for the viol detailing the harrowing experience of ‘cutting for stone.’ Beethoven and Mozart were afflicted by kidney disease, as are several current musicians. Where past musicians succumbed to their failing kidneys, the advent of renal replacement therapy has given today's musicians, such as James DePreist and Natalie Cole, the opportunity to continue performing and composing. Several notable physicians of old have excelled as musicians; one example is Jacob Henle (1809–1885), for whom the loop of Henle is named, another is Robert Christison, a contemporary of Richard Bright, who is considered a ‘founder of nephrology’. Importantly, music therapy, as used in the times of Hippocrates and King David, has evolved from an empiric to a well-established scientific discipline. Given the recent enlarging body of scholarly studies of music therapy, its rudimentary role in nephrology deserves further exploration.

You can look at disease as a form of disharmony. And there's no organ system in the body that's not affected by sound and music and vibration [1].

This may sound like a wishful, romantic overstatement, but is supported by a growing number of studies detailing the physiological and clinical effects of music, as well as the potential therapeutic benefits of music in medicine [2, 3]. How this still somewhat poetic generality relates to the kidney and its diseases is the subject explored in this article.

Musicians, like all artists (writers, poets, sculptors, painters, dancers, actors, etc.), use creative imagination, innate talent, and acquired skill to produce works that elicit an emotional response in those exposed to them. The melodic outputs of these creators notwithstanding, all of them are humans susceptible to the same aches and pains as the mere mortals who are their admiring audiences. From a medical perspective, it has long been of interest to explore how artists have portrayed medical diseases and conversely how diseases have shaped their creative output [4]. For example, the Renaissance painter Michelangelo (1475–1564) suffered from kidney stones and died at the age of 89 from related complications [5]. It has been postulated that his personal interest in the kidney and his mastery of anatomy (he took part in public dissections from a young age) led to the depiction of the kidney in his art [5]. While similar overlaps of masterful creators and medicine abound, of all the artistic disciplines, the link between medicine and music is the oldest. Although there is a rich literature exploring music, musicians and their medical history, the literature specific to the kidney and its diseases is sparse. Nephrology as a new discipline has much left to explore in this area.

Music and Medicine

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

The relationship between music and medicine is as old as the dawn of civilization. The soothing powers of music were intuitively recognized by mothers who used humming to console their crying babies and later by medicine women and shamans in their incantations and maneuvers to treat ailing clan members. From these antecedents, lost in the mist of times past, arose the first use of primitive musical instruments (drums, rattles, flutes) to charm, sooth, relieve pain, alleviate suffering, and attempt cure in antiquity. These ancient therapeutic uses of rhythm, tone, and incantations are embodied in the early Greek mythology figure of Apollo, the Olympian deity of healing and music. It is Apollo who, in his numerous love affairs, is said to have sired Aesculapius, the god of medicine and Orpheus, the god of music and poetry. In the priestly medicine that prevailed then, music was used for religious and healing purposes.

Several passages in the Bible refer to the healing powers of music, best known among which is the story of the first two kings of Israel summed in the following passage: “Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him” [6]. As late as the 16th century, native American medicine men employed rhythmic chants and dances as a means of healing, a custom still practiced in parts of the United States [7]. During the centuries that followed these early beginnings, as priestly medicine gave way to rational medicine, music continued to serve a central liturgical role, but its use in medicine was gradually limited to ‘diseases of the soul’, emotional derangements, and neurological disorders [7].

Hippocrates (ca. 460–370 B.C.E.), the founding father of rational medicine, and Plato (ca. 428–348 B.C.E.), philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the Academy of Athens, are reported to have sanctioned music for deranged patients. Their contemporaries believed that the worlds of poetry, music, and medicine were fundamentally intertwined, much as they were in the powers of Apollo [8].

With the advent of monastic medicine, there was a revived interest in music as an adjunctive medical therapy, recommended by some authors, but poorly documented in its details and outcomes. In the 9th century, Hunain ibn Ishaq (809–873), known as Johannitius, produced his Isagoge (Introduction) in which he expounds on the conceptual framework of music therapy alongside diet and regimen before resorting to medications and surgery [9]. The Persian philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi (872–950), known as Alpharabius, dealt with music therapy in his treatise Meanings of the Intellect, in which he exposes the therapeutic effects of music on the soul, “Music promotes good mood, moral education, emotional steadiness and spiritual development. It is useful for physical health. When the soul is not healthy, the body is also ill. Good music, which cures the soul, restores the body to good health” [9-11].

When Western medicine was revived in the Renaissance, it was humoral physiology that explained bodily functions, and medical endeavors to restore the balance of the four humors found a parallel in the harmony of music, so well expressed by the English advocate of the scientific method, Francis Bacon (1561–1626), “…the poets did well to conjoin Music and Medicine in Apollo, because the office of medicine is but to tune this curious harp of man's body and to reduce it to harmony” [12].

Bacon's pronouncement notwithstanding, the subsequent rise of scientific medicine in the centuries that followed resulted in the gradual relegation of music away from medicine, and its rare use as a form of treatment [10]. However, the past decades have seen a burgeoning interest in music therapy to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of patients. It has been reported to produce faster recovery from certain debilitating neurological conditions, such as aphasia, autism, Parkinsonism, and psychiatric illnesses [13, 14]. Areas where music therapy has found an early niche are in the relief of dental and surgical pain and of the stress in critical care [15]. Music therapy today is an organized discipline, with its own national and international organizations and publications. Studies showing the effects of music on measured physiological changes in hemodynamic, respiratory, and neurological function are increasingly appearing in scientific journals [1, 16]. Most impressive have been recent studies of music on isolated cell function ranging from the growth pattern of malignant cells to the use of the Brownian movement within cells and that of their genetic code arrangement in producing music [1-3].

Within this enlarging body of scientific exploration of music therapy, its use in nephrology remains rudimentary. Reports on the effectiveness of music therapy in dialysis and kidney transplant patients have appeared and its further use in CKD proposed, but solid evidence of its utility is lacking [17-20]. Doctors today are known to play music during procedures to relax themselves and their patients, for example, during a kidney biopsy or in the operating room during transplantation. As a nephrologist and musician, one of the authors (RR, cello) has used music to help him connect with patients on a personal level. He often plays a duet with a peritoneal dialysis patient during the monthly medical visits.

Musicians and Nephrolithiasis

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

Like athletes (orthopedic injuries) or miners (lung disease), musicians are at risk for a variety of diseases, most of which are specific to their occupation. These include contact dermatitis, hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, pneumothorax, increased intraocular pressure, gastroesophageal reflux, performance anxiety, focal dystonia, various musculoskeletal disorders, and acute kidney injury in hand drummers [21-23]. Historically, the most common recorded kidney ailment affecting musicians is nephrolithiasis (Table 1). This is not unique to musicians, but a reflection on the conceptual evolution of renal diseases. Throughout most of history, it was the symptomatic nature of an illness that determined its recognition and the attention devoted to its treatment. It is not unexpected then that the pain of nephrolithiasis and the color changes of urine due to hematuria attracted medical attention early, and their treatment came to occupy an increasing part of medical texts [24, 25].

Table 1. Notable musicians with kidney disease
Kidney DiseaseMusicianYearsCountryProfession
  1. PCKD: Polycystic Kidney Disease; CKD: Chronic Kidney Disease; GN: glomerulonephritis; MPGN: membrano-proliferative glomerulonephritis; FSGS: focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

NephrolithiasisMarin Marais1656–1728FranceComposer, violist
 Giovanni Gabrieli1554–1612ItalyComposer
 Arthur Sullivan1842–1900United KingdomComposer
 Cole Porter1891–1964United StatesSongwriter
 Bing Crosby1903–1977United StatesVocalist (jazz music)
 Brigit Nilsson1918–2005SwedenOperatic Soprano
 Charles Strouse1928United StatesComposer
 Jean Sibelius1936–2013FinlandComposer
 Nick Drake1948–1974United KingdomVocalist (folk music)
 Billy Joel1949United StatesVocalist, Pianist
 Peter Burns1959United KingdomVocalist (pop music)
 Peter Andre1973United KingdomVocalist (pop music)
 Adam Young1986United StatesVocalist (pop music)
     
Papillary NecrosisLudwig Beethoven1770–1828GermanyComposer
     
PCKDAlamgir1955PakistanVocalist (rapper)
     
Glomerulonephritis    
 Postinfectious GNWolfgang A. Mozart1756–1791AustriaComposer
 MPGNNatalie Cole1950United StatesVocalist (R&B music)
 FSGSBarry White1944–2003United StatesVocalist (R&B music)
 Lupus NephritisNick Cannon1980United StatesVocalist (rap music)
 FSGSDayna Stephens1978United StatesSaxophonist, composer
     
CKDDavid Braham1838–1905United StatesComposer, violinist
 Antonin Dvorak1841–1904CzechComposer
 Isaac Albeniz1860–1909SpainComposer, pianist
 Ferrucio Busoni1866–1924ItalyComposer, Pianist
 Harry Warren1893–1986United StatesComposer, lyricist
 Miguel Fleta1897–1938SpainTenor
 Oum (Umm) Kalsoum1904–1975EgyptVocalist (arabic music)
 Art Tatum1909–1956United StatesJazz Pianist
 Dexter Gordon1923–1990United StatesSaxophonist
 Oscar E. Peterson1925–2007CanadaJazz pianist, composer
 James DePreist1936–2013United StatesConductor
 Billy Preston1946–2006United StatesMusician
 Jackson Kaujeva1953–2010NamibiaVocalist (gospel)
 Patrick (Pati) ObasiN/A-2012NigeriaVocalist (gospel)
 Moses IkomiN/ANigeriaVocalist (pop music)
 Stefon Alexander1981United StatesVocalist (rap)
 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan1948–1997PakistanVocalist (qawwali music)

A well-known 17th century viol (viola da gamba) virtuoso, Marin Marais (1656–1728), court musician to kings Louis XIV and XV of France, composed a unique piece for the viol titled “Tableau de l'Operation de la Taille” (“A rendering of the cutting operation”) based on his personal experience [26, 27]. The composer either underwent a lithotomy in 1720 at the age of 64 to remove a urinary bladder calculus, or was a close spectator of the new procedure that had been introduced in Paris by Frère Jacques Beaulieu (1651–1714). Operations for removal of bladder stones at the court were usually public spectacles attended by interested people, including the king [28, 29]. Marais’ 1725 composition is accompanied by a narrative (Fig. 1), guiding the performer with the patient's perspective of what the music is attempting to convey [26]:

image

Figure 1. The score and annotations for the viol of the Tableau de L'Operation de la Taille by the French court composer Marin Marais (1656–1728). (Reproduced from Marin Marais’ Pièces de Viole, Cinquième Livre. Anne Fuzeau Productions, Bressure, France. 1994.)

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Appearance of the instrumental setup; Shudders at seeing them; The resolve to proceed; Climbing the table; Somber thoughts; Restraining of the arms and legs; The incision; Introduction of the forceps; Extraction of the stone; Loss of one's voice; Bleeding; Release of the extremity binders; Transport back to bed.

The well-placed crescendos and ethereal tone of this composition aptly convey the harrowing procedure of cutting for stone in the preanesthesia era (Fig. 2). An audio clip of this brief 2.59-minute composition, about as long as the operation lasted at a time that the competence of the operator determined the duration of the surgical pain to be tolerated, can be heard at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_-K_o3x-f4.

image

Figure 2. Cutting for stone (lateral lithotomy): a glimpse of surgery in the 17th century. The surgeon, tools, and operating table were brought to the patient's own room, and he was immediately transferred back to his own bed to recuperate after the procedure. A 17th century rendition of this harrowing procedure in the preanesthesia era where, after being transferred to the operating table, the patient's extremities were bound (A), several attendants held the patient down during the surgery (B), which was performed in the patient's room and attended by family members and observers (C). (Reproduced from Traité de la Lithotomie by Francois Tolet. Paris, Barent Beek. 1686.)

Download figure to PowerPoint

Other victims of nephrolithiasis include the British composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900), who wrote the music for his comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore in 1877 between bouts of excruciating pain from his kidney stones; the legendary Swedish opera soprano Brigit Nilsson (1918–2005), who painfully passed a kidney stone at the climax of a 1951 concert in Göteborg, Sweden, necessitating 1 week of hospitalization to recover [30]; and recent musicians, including Bing Crosby (1903–1977) and Billy Joel (b. 1949). The latter first underwent surgery for kidney stones in 1989, and required subsequent hospitalizations for nephrolithiasis while on tour [31].

Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

Two of the greatest composers of the 18th century, Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770–1827) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), were afflicted by kidney disease. Their extensive medical historiography provides for much speculation and their illnesses have been attributed to a host of causes by various medical specialists. Beethoven's body, autopsied within 24 hours of his death, reveals the morbid details of his undiagnosed kidney disease: “Both kidneys were invested by a cellular membrane of an inch thick, and infiltrated with a brown turbid fluid; their tissue was pale-red and opened out. Every one of their calycies was occupied by a calcareous concretion of a wart-like shape and as large as a split pea” [32]. This has been interpreted as a description of renal papillary necrosis (RPN), then still an undefined disease. Beethoven's autopsy report predates by 50 years the first published case titled renal papillary necrosis in 1877 by Nikolaus von Friedreich (1825–1882), professor of pathology and therapy at the University of Heidelberg [33]. During his lifetime, Beethoven suffered from severe headaches, abdominal cramps, back pains, and “rheumatism”, for which he had an uncontrolled way of taking various analgesics [29, 34]. Other risk factors for his RPN include liver disease and possibly undiagnosed diabetes—as the autopsy also revealed a shrunken sclerosed liver, portal hypertension, and a “hard and firm” pancreas with the “excretory duct as wide as a goosequill” [32].

The cause of Beethoven's lifelong abuse of analgesics was not identified until the late 1990s in a remarkable medical forensic investigation. It was customary in Beethoven's time for young musicians or composers to snip a lock of their master's hair as a keepsake. A young understudy and future composer and conductor, Ferdinand Hiller (1811–1885), obtained the master's hair months before his death. It remained in the possession of his affluent family for generations, but was eventually sold at Sotheby in 1994 to American collectors. The new owners initiated a series of forensic studies, which determined that the hair contained forty-two times the average lead content of the controls [35]. Plumbism (lead toxicity) presents with abdominal complaints, hyperuricemia (“rheumatism”, gout), lead nephropathy, and, of course, the progressive loss of hearing for which Beethoven was famously afflicted.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was sickly through much of his life and died at the young age of 36, although not before composing over 600 works, including 22 operas and 50 symphonies. He died after a brief illness of 2 weeks of what has been postulated to be a rapidly progressive postinfectious glomerulonephritis. His sister-in-law described the last days of his life as “… on account of his swollen condition he was unable to turn in bed.” Along with this massive anasarca, he manifested swollen joints, headaches, skin rash, and fever [36-38]. The diagnosis of glomerulonephritis was proposed after a review of the 1791–92 Vienna death registries revealed reports of a virulent streptococcal epidemic at that time, and first-hand documents chronicling Mozart's last days [36]. Regrettably, the official cause of Mozart's death will probably never be confirmed. He was buried in a common, unmarked grave in accordance with a Hapsburg monarchy edict [39]; however, the Mozarteum in Salzburg displays both a skull and strands of hair said to be Mozart's, which could be analyzed to elucidate his kidney disease, as was done with Beethoven [40].

By the following century, Richard Bright (1789–1858) had described his eponymous disease and, in contrast to Mozart and Beethoven, the terminal illness of two of the great composers of the 19th century afflicted with kidney disease is reported as Bright's disease and uremia. The first of these is Antonin Dvorak (1841–1904), the Czech composer of the New World Symphony, who died at the age of 63 from Bright's disease diagnosed by urinalysis [41-44]. The cause of his kidney failure is not well explored, but has been attributed to urinary tract obstruction and pyelonephritis [41, 44]. The other is Isaac Albeniz (1869–1909), a Spanish pianist and composer who died at the young age of 48 from Bright's Disease, weeks after being awarded France's highest honor, the Grand-Croix de la Légion d'honneur [45, 46]. Of note, both Dvorak and Albeniz were of portly constitution, smoked heavily, and consumed alcohol freely [41-46].

Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

The emergence of renal replacement therapy (chronic dialysis and transplantation) within the past 50 years has transformed the theretofore fatal outcome of kidney failure into a treatable one, a milestone in medicine that has changed the lives of millions and allowed for their continued productivity. As a result, unlike the fatal outcome of kidney failure that befell Albeniz and Dvorak, today's musicians are able to continue the creation of memorable music even after their kidney disease progresses to kidney failure. Notable among those is the conductor James DePreist (1936–2013), who developed kidney failure in the 1990s, but continued a productive career for the next two decades after dialysis and kidney transplantation [47]. Also, the singer and songwriter Natalie Maria Cole (b.1950), the daughter of Nat King Cole (1919–1965), who developed kidney failure, probably due to Hepatitis C caused by substance abuse, was on maintenance dialysis and underwent a kidney transplant in May 2009 from which she emerged healthy enough to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that same December. The Pakistani pop singer Alamgir (b. 1955) has been able to keep a busy touring schedule while undergoing thrice weekly hemodialysis. The Brooklyn native saxophone prodigy and Stanford Jazz Festival faculty member, Dayna Stephens (b. 1978), continues to keep a busy performance schedule while on hemodialysis and awaiting a kidney transplant. One can only speculate what Albeniz and Dvorak, and especially Mozart, may have achieved had they benefitted from this milestone achievement of modern medicine.

Physicians as Musicians

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

Of the diverse intersections between music and medicine, one of the most apparent is that of the number of musically talented and inclined physicians who have formed regional ‘doctor orchestras’ and notably the World Doctors Orchestra founded in 2007 by Stefan Willich (b. 1959), president of the Berlin Academy of Music and professor of Medicine at the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin. While these are relatively recent undertakings, famous physicians of the past have long been involved and excelled in music (Table 2) [1]. All have achieved that at great cost, given the demanding nature of both professions and the advice received by all in some form or another that “A man cannot serve two masters.” Probably the most critical evaluation of orchestral undertakings by doctors was by Johannes Brahms (1833–1898), who was invited by his friend Theodor Billroth (1829–1894) to listen to, and evaluate, an orchestra of physicians Billroth had formed. Shortly after the performance started, Brahms got agitated and left saying “I would rather have the Vienna Philharmonic operate on me.” This blunt evaluation is not really justified, as most ‘doctor's orchestras’ put on well-received and well-attended performances.

Table 2. Notable physicians of the past who were also distinguished musicians
NameYearsCountryMusic
Abu Nasr al-Farabi872–950PersiaTheorist, instrumentalist
Avicenna980–1037PersiaTheorist, Oud
William Petty1623–1687BritainMathematics of music
Hermann Boerhaave1668–1738HollandMusical virtuoso
Leoplold Auenberger1722–1809AustriaOpera librettist
William Withering1741–1799BritainHarpsichord, Harp
Johan Peter Frank1745–1821GermanyMusical theorist
Edward Jenner1749–1823BritainViolin, Flute
Alexander Borodin1833–1887RussiaComposer
John Arbuthnot1767–1835BritainComposer
Robert Christison1797–1882ScotlandSinger, Vocalist
Jacob Henle1809–1885GermanyViolin, Violoncello
Herman Helmholtz1821–1894GermanyTheorist and Critic
Theodor Billroth1829–1894AustriaPiano
Albert Schweitzer1875–1965GermanyOrgan

Several of the musician-physicians listed in Table 2 have made contributions to nephrology. Best known among the lot is William Withering (1741–1799), whose discovery of digitalis was instrumental in the differentiation of dropsy due to the heart from that due to the kidney, and Jacob Henle (1809–1885), after whom the loop of Henle is named [48]. Less well-known is Robert Christison (1797–1882), who, for his seminal contributions to kidney disease, has been dubbed a ‘founder of nephrology’ alongside his two contemporaries Richard Bright (1789–1858) and Pierre Rayer (1793–1867) [49, 50]. The renal contributions of the best musician in the list, Alexander Borodin (1833–1887), are the least known. A distinguished Russian chemist in St. Petersburg, his fundamental contributions to the estimation of nitrogen in body fluids were highlighted in his obituary in the March 19, 1887 issue of the Lancet as, “By means of Professor Borodin's process, combined with that of Kjeldahl's, the physician has a means whereby this estimation (of body fluid nitrogen) may be made with a moderate amount of difficulty…” [51]. Indeed, the last publication of Borodin in 1886 concerned a method for the determination of urea and uric acid in urine [52]. As a footnote to Borodin's link to nephrology, in 1861, while studying in Heidelberg, he sought medical care for his fiancée from Nikolaus von Friedreich, the physician who first described RPN in 1877.

Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

The American humorist Erma Bombeck (1927–1996) was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease at age 20. She underwent dialysis for several years prior to succumbing to complications related to kidney transplantation [53]. She commented on her ailment, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.” This is the advice she followed as she remained productive through her illness. When she eventually received a cadaveric transplant, she commented, “The real heroes and heroines are the patients who are hanging tough and the donors who are faced with hard decisions and give humanity a good name. We are about preserving life. It is indeed a gift.”

Celebrity musicians (and other artists) have the power to draw attention to a particular disease or procedure. This can be directly with a moniker, as with Lou Gehrig (Lou Gehrig's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Tommy John (Tommy John Surgery, ulnar collateral ligament reconstructive surgery), or indirectly by advocating for support of medical care. Musician (rapper) Nick Cannon (b 1980) was hospitalized with lupus nephritis in 2012; his story was reported by several news outlets along with a lay description of kidney failure. He now advocates on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation and despite his kidney failure, he hosted “America's Got Talent” for the sixth time in 2012 and currently hosts a weekly radio top 40 countdown (Cannon's Countdown), balancing this with his married life to fellow musician Mariah Carey. Other artists who have suffered from kidney disease include actor Gary Coleman (1968–2005), actor-comedian George Lopez (kidney transplant 2005), poet Emily Dickenson (died 1886, Bright's Disease), and humorist Art Buchwald (1925–2007). All of these celebrities have raised public awareness and support for kidney disease.

Conclusion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References

Music, as a discipline, has performed an instrumental role in medicine, beginning in Antiquity and leading to the present. Over the centuries, this has led to the emergence of music therapy for the treatment of various ailments, including kidney disorders. Several notable composers have suffered from kidney disease, including Beethoven, Mozart, and Dvorak. The unique musical score of the 17th century composer, Marin Marais, detailing the harrowing experience of being ‘cut for stone’ is one of the rare musical renderings of a medical procedure. In contrast to the fatal outcome of the kidney disease of past musicians, the advent of renal replacement therapy has given today's musicians the opportunity to continue performing and composing. The celebrity status of these beneficiaries of renal progress has helped to increase public awareness and support of kidney disease.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Music and Medicine
  4. Musicians and Nephrolithiasis
  5. Musicians and Chronic Kidney Disease
  6. Musicians, Kidney Failure and Renal Replacement Therapy
  7. Physicians as Musicians
  8. Artists, Musicians, and Advocating for Kidney Care
  9. Conclusion
  10. Financial Disclosures
  11. References
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