A New Study Shows Music Can Combat Alzheimers and Dementia

 Music is the Answer

To the entire music community, we wanted to let you know that a new study showed that music helps with Alzheimers and dementia. Remember that feeling of being moved by a song? That not only helps your mind and soul, but also your body.

How?

The salience network (SN) is a large scale brain network of the human brain that is primarily composed of the anterior insula (AI) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). It involves detecting and filtering salient stimuli, and recruiting relevant functional networks. It links to the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). Musical perception, musical emotion, and musical memory survive long after other forms of cognitive function and memory disappear.

Music captures our culture and identity. We all listen to music through recordings, playing an instrument, attending concerts, or dancing. We get a unique emotional experience with personal and social meaning. From soothing jazz, blaring 140 bpm techno, and possibly even country–listening to familiar music elicits pleasurable responses.

According to The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimers Disease, our favorite music becomes weaponized against Alzheimers and dementia. It numbs anxiety for patients and combats its memory-distorting effects.

“We believe music will tap into the salience network of the brain that is still relatively functioning.” -Jeff Anderson M.D. P.H.D., associate professor in radiology at the University of Utah

Anderson believes music can act as an effective treatment for sufferers. While there is still much more to be clarified on this study in varying levels of dementia, we know one thing. Music works as a way to slow the onset or help with improving it.

A graduate student, Jace King, found that headphones brought patients “back to life” after putting them on dementia patients and familiar music played. Music anchors and grounds them back to reality.

Quite an interesting study and one that is as simple as plugging into your phone. Music therapy is something we can all get behind.


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