More evidence of the power and usefulness of music as a therapeutic tool recently came to light. During its June 25 broadcast, the program “Science Friday,” aired on National Public Radio, discussed a recent scientific study revealing that among people showing early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) “playing musical instruments, singing, or otherwise participating in making music can have a small but consistent benefit in recall, and other measures of brain health.”
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, examined several previous studies involving more than 1,000 people worldwide and focusing on those experiencing “mild cognitive decline,” which can be the first sign of the development of AD or other forms of dementia.
Despite the good news that music can help patients suffering from such cognitive decline, the study’s authors offered the following conclusions and caveats in an abstract:
- “Treatment with music has shown effectiveness in the treatment of general behavioural and cognitive symptoms of patients with various types of dementia.”
- “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review focusing on randomized trials found in the literature that analysed the role of musical interventions specifically in the memory of patients with AD. Despite the positive outcome of this review, the available evidence remains inconsistent due to the small number of randomized controlled trials.”
A transcript of the Science Friday show will soon be available here: https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/music-memory-alzheimers/
The study itself is available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6022981/