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Alzheimer's Disease

Musical Therapy and Alzheimers

01/26/2004

Question:

What are the benefits of Musical Therapy when used as a treatment for Alzheimers disease?

Answer:

Music therapy clearly benefits persons with Alzheimer`s disease and is a relatively risk free alternative therapy to try, in combination with existing medications for Alzheimer`s disease. It is widely reported by families, clinicians, and people who work with older adults, that just about anyone will respond to music in some way. This is also supported by a substantial amount of empirical research. Music is known to help people relax, feel calm, and improve mood. Studies suggest that music therapy leads to changes in physiology with the release of brain chemicals (such as melatonin, norephinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, prolactin) that regulate mood, reduce aggression and depression, make a person calmer, and help with sleep. Music is a way to help people reminisce about their life. The memories of music, musical lyrics, and events paired with music tend to remain intact longer. Music therapy provides a way for virtually any stage of Alzheimer`s disease to participate, by listening, humming along, singing, tapping their foot etc. Music tends to help with social interactions as well. Should you need additional information there is a wealth of knowledge about music therapy available on the internet as well as in scientific journals. 

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Response by:

Paula K Ogrocki, PhD Paula K Ogrocki, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University