With this new project, supporting the Assisi Seraphic Institute, we are inaugurating a new sphere of activity: scientific research.

We are supporting the work of Chiara, a bold, young, neurological doctor and researcher who is extremely enthusiastic. Several months ago she began her studies at InVita, the Research Center that opened in April 2018 at the Umbro Institute. 

Mozart’s music and Chiara’s research

Chiara is a neurologist. Hers is “battlefield” research, as she loves to define it, because it requires continuous attention to many variables that can affect the result of her studies. At the InVita Research Center, Chiara studies epilepsy: she is trying to find ways to reduce the number of episodes in people who have up to 50 per month, and for whom medication is not effective. 

Since 2017 she has been at the Seraphic Institute experimenting on how the number of episodes can be reduced up to 50% through music therapy. For six months, a group of patients has listed to Mozart’s Sonata K448 every day, for about thirty minutes. The research “Mozart’s music and multi-drug resistant epilepsy: a potential EEG index of therapeutic effectiveness” is having some surprising results

A new phase of the research

Based on this initial encouraging data, Chiara is moving into the second phase of the research. Now, through an encephalogram that is performed before, during, and after the listening, a real measurement in brain activity variations is made. 

«Epilepsy is an anomalous neuronal discharge – Chiara explained to us – instead; the music sets the times and in some way forces the neurons to tune into a more harmonic discharge. This is our hypothesis and we must see if it can be concretely verified».

The next step will be the beginning of the third phase of research, which involves obtaining some radiation-free resonances. What are they? Basically they are photographs taken of the brain to see the effect that music has on its anatomy. 

In this case, Chiara explained to us that «there is a part of the brain called the Corpus Callosum that unites the right and left hemispheres. This seems to increase in size when listening to music. The brains of musicians, for example, have this particularity, and we want to see if this also happens in the children at the Seraphic Institute. Even tiny increments in size, even less than a millimeter, would indicate new brain activity that had not been there before».

Chiara is full of enthusiasm and passion for what she is doing, but she is also aware of the difficulties she encounters on a daily basis and the obstacles that will arise. The time it will take to see some results will not be short: «it is a very long process; just to obtain a single encephalogram, the children first need to familiarize themselves with the instrument. The beginning can be very discouraging, but we have seen that by taking it slowly, we get results and we hope to get even more answers to the countless questions that these people’s condition put to us every day».

The Seraphic Institute and the InVita Research Center

The Seraphic Institute has been taking care of children and young people with serious psychophysical and behavioral disabilities for almost 150 years. With each of them, the medical professionals develop and follow a personalized and highly specialized rehabilitation and educational process. The goal is to make the person as independent as possible and restoring their ability to have a full life, where the abilities are valued and their limits and fragility are addressed resourcefully. 
All this translates into daily activities that consist of getting everyone back into daily rituals, such as getting up, getting dressed, brushing your teeth, and feeding yourself. But that’s not all:  every guest learns how to feel good, to know themselves and the world around them through multiple activities:
•    rehabilitation;
•    sports;
•    sensory stimulation;
•    creative and relaxing hands-on workshops;
•    tactile, visual, and olfactory experiences.

In this context the InVita Research Center was born. It has already started several projects since it was established. A truly groundbreaking center of excellence, The Center specializes in rehabilitative innovation and development. It is coordinated by Professor Sandro Elisei. 

The Center’s team is made up of professionals with different disciplines, united by a passion for research. Their aim is to give hope and support to the families who face their children’s illness every day, often without being able to understand it. 

The challenge facing them is extremely complex. Unfortunately there are few researchers who try their hand at studying people who suffer from many different diseases because the path can be long and very complicated. But these people, like everyone, deserve the chance to feel better. This is also why the Valter Baldaccini Foundation has chosen to accompany them on their journey.

Why the Assisi Seraphic Institute

«We have always found the Seraphic Institute to be a pioneering partner. Being at the forefront means thinking differently, seeing the world in a different way, just as the Seraphic does when looking at the fragility of the special people they host with different eyes, certainly with human eyes».

With these words, our President Beatrice Baldaccini explains the reasons that led the Valter Baldaccini Foundation, together with UMBRAGROUP, to join the Good Business Initiative and to support Chiara’s work this year.

Watch the video interview with Beatrice Baldaccini.

Find out the project supported last year.

In the photos dr. Chiara and dr. Moreno near the totem realized by Seraphic Institute guests. Following the inauguration of the InVIta Research Center, last April 2018, with Francesca Di Maolo, President of the Seraphic of Assisi, Professor Sandro Elisei, Health Director of the Seraphic of Assisi and head of InVita and Stefano Malfatti, Director of Communication and Fundraising of the Seraphic.

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