Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Performing Arts Medicine--A Bibliographic Retrospective of the Early Literature: An Historical Examination of Bibliographic References Pre-1975

William J. Dawson
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 28 Number 1: Page 47 (March 2013)

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Abstract: Performing arts medicine (PAM) emerged as a medical specialty around 1985. Prior to this time, relatively few publications addressed the identification and concerns of musicians' and dancers' medical problems. To determine what number and types of publications occurred prior to the actual beginnings of PAM as a discipline, and to determine how these original topics compared with present-day publications, a retrospective review of the current bibliographic database of the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) was undertaken. Out of a total of 12,600 entries to date, 489 references were found published from 1798 through 1974, which represent only 3.9% of the current database listings. One-sixth of the references were originally written in a language other than English. Journal articles were by far the most numerous type of publication. Topics with the highest number of entries included the neurobiology of music (n=77), dental/orofacial matters (71), and biographical accounts of composers or musicians and their illnesses (59). Other frequently published topics included hearing loss, physiology of playing instruments, and instrumental technique and teaching. Early topics with multiple publications included composers' biographies, dystonias, and surgery to improve finger independence for playing piano. Subjects whose publications occurred principally in the last two decades of this review included dermatological disorders, hearing loss, and ballet physiology, teaching, and technique. Those which remain popular to the present day include hearing loss, performance anxiety, focal dystonia, and dental/orofacial problems.

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