Music-Based Therapy Improves Alzheimer's Patients' Memory

by Aruna on  February 25, 2009 at 12:40 PM Mental Health News
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 Music-Based Therapy Improves Alzheimer's Patients' Memory
A new study says patients with Alzheimer's disease could improve memory by listening to their favorite songs.

Listening to certain tunes from past evokes powerful and vivid memories that appear to be immune from the condition, the researchers have claimed.

According to Petr Janata and his team from the University of California, making a "soundtrack of someone's life" before their mind is too damaged and playing it back to them could help form a resistance to the disease.

To reach the conclusion, researchers scanned the brain activity of 13 students as they listed to 30 favorite songs. From the analysis they discovered that the section of the brain which is associated with music is also associated with our most vivid memories.

The region of the brain seemed to serve as a hub that links familiar music, memories and emotion.

This pre-frontal cortex, which is just behind the forehead, also seems to be the most immune from the effects of Alzheimer's disease.

"Because memory for autobiographically important music seems to be spared in people with Alzheimer's disease, one of his long-term goals is to use this research to help develop music-based therapy for people with the disease," The Telegraph quoted Janata, as saying.

"Providing patients with MP3 players and customized play lists could prove to be a quality-of-life improvement strategy that would be both effective and economical.

"What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head.

"It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person's face in your mind's eye. Now we can see the association between those two things, the music and the memories," the expert added.

His study, "The Neural Architecture of Music-Evoked Autobiographical Memories," is published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

Source: ANI
ARU/L

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