Study Proves Memories Of Music Cannot Be Lost To People With Alzheimer’s And Dementia
Carl FombyPublished in May 2019 / Updated in January 2021
Music is known to possess capabilities to comfort, heal, move, or even motivate us. When we listen to favorite songs, we tend to remember the lyrics for a long time. A new study proves music memories can never be lost even if you have Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
After the study, researchers have discovered that the part of the brain responsible for reacting to music sounds is among the parts that can never get lost even when suffering from a devastating brain disease.
When we listen to favorite music or something we love, our brain has an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). This’s the tingling sensation that makes us aware that we’re really enjoying something.
Researchers have found that our responses on this part of the brain will remain present even with Dementia or Alzheimer’s diseases.
The findings of the study propose that music has the capability of lifting us out of our confusion every now and then. It also concluded that this part of the brain, ASMR, will remain unaffected during various brain diseases.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that tends to put a patient in layers of confusion. When such a person listens to music, it’ll bring them out of their confusion state and back to clarity.
The findings of this research were published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Although music effects on Alzheimer’s patients aren’t permanent and don’t last long, it can bring the victim back to a somewhat normal state for a short time.
Researchers in this study are from the University of Utah. They’re now working on this part of the brain with the hope of coming up with a more in-depth music-based treatment to help ease the anxiety people with Alzheimer’s experience.
For centuries we’ve known that music and sounds have been used as excellent brain therapy to relieve disorders such as stress. Referring to this research, now we know the reasons why.
An associate professor in Radiology at the University of Utah, Jeff Anderson, released a statement saying:
“People with dementia are confronted by a world that is unfamiliar to them, which causes disorientation and anxiety.”
“We believe music will tap into the salience network of the brain that is still relatively functioning.”
“In our society, the diagnoses of dementia are snowballing and are taxing resources to the max.”
“No one says playing music will be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but it might make the symptoms more manageable, decrease the cost of care, and improve a patients’ quality of life.”
During the study, researchers assisted the participants in selecting meaningful songs. Then, they trained the caregivers together with the patients on how to play the music using a portable device.
Music for these patients is a bridge that helps to bring them to reality. It enables them to stay in the present moment for a while longer.
Researchers then used the MRI machine to scan the patient’s brain and to determine which parts got lit up after listening to the songs.
Using favorite songs during this study was helpful as it activated even the parts which had remained dormant for long.
Of course, an advanced study needs to be performed, but this new finding is a step closer to a more reliable brain treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.