Music and Dementia

A small scale study from the University of Utah has identified a level of neurological stimulation which is created when people with a dementia listen to music they like. The researchers conclude that listening to music may lead to “improvements in brain network synchronization”.

The study monitored brain activity via MRI scanners while people listened to music of their choosing. Commenting on the study, Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said, “From talking to people with dementia at our Singing for the Brain groups, we know the positive effect that music can have. People who may be quiet or reserved can be transformed when they hear a song they recognise – joining in singing and even having a dance. This study suggests that this transformation could be in part due to parts of the brain connecting better for a brief time after hearing music. Further research is needed to help understand the longer-term effects of music, and help show that it’s not only drugs that can help people manage with dementia.”