- 1. Music evokes emotions that bring memories. Music can evoke emotion in even the most advanced of Alzheimer’s patients. NeurologistOliver Sacks says that, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory… it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.” By pairing music with every day activities, patients can develop a rhythm that helps them to the recall the memory of that activity, improving cognitive ability over time.
- 2. Musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia patients. Linda Maguire, lead author on the study wrote, “Musical aptitude and music appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in patients with Alzheimer’s.” Because these two abilities remain long after other abilities have passed, music is an excellent way to reach beyond the disease and reach the person.
- 3. Music can bring emotional and physical closeness. In the later stages of dementia, patients often lose the ability to share emotions with caregivers. Through music, as long as they are ambulatory, they can often dance. Dancing can lead to hugs, kisses and touching which brings security and memories.
- 4. Singing is engaging. The singing sessions in the study engaged more than just the brain and the area related to singing. As singing activated the left side of the brain, listening to music sparked activity in the right and watching the class activated visual areas of the brain. With so much of the brain being stimulated, the patients were exercising more mind power than usual.
- 5. Music can shift mood, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has an entire web page dedicated to music therapy in Alzheimer’s patients. They say that, “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.” This is because music requires little to no mental processing, so singing music does not require the cognitive function that is not present in most dementia patients.
- For more information about this, see http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-07-21/why-music-boosts-brain-activity-in-dementia-patients/
January 30th, 2015 · how the brain works, music and alzheimer, music and the brain
September 30th, 2014 · how the brain works, music and the brain
August 26th, 2014 · how the brain works, music and the brain
Music, Attention, and LearningEveryone who has learned their ABCs knows that it is easier to memorize a list if it is set to music. Scientific research supports common experience that pairing music with rhythm and pitch enhances learning and recall. Music helps children and adolescents with attention problems in several ways. First, it can be used as a reward for desired behavior. For example, for paying attention to homework for 10 minutes, a child can be rewarded with the opportunity to listen to music for 5 minutes. Second, it can be used to help enhance attention to “boring” academic tasks such as memorization, using songs, rhythms, and dance or movement to enhance the interest of the lists to be memorized. Instrumental baroque music is great for improving attention and reasoning. For students, playing background music is not distracting. Third, musical cues can be used to help organize activities – one kind of music for one activity (studying), another for a different activity (eating), and a third kind for heading to bed. Fourth, studies show that calming music can promote pro-social behavior and decrease impulsive behavior.
Music and AnxietyMany people find familiar music comforting and calming. In fact, music is so effective in reducing anxiety, it is often used in dental, preoperative, and radiation therapy settings to help patients cope with their worries about procedures. Music helps decrease anxiety in the elderly, new mothers, and children too. Music’s ability to banish worries is illustrated in the Rogers and Hammerstein lyrics, “Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect And whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect I’m afraid… And every single time, the happiness in the tune convinces me that I’m not afraid.” Any kind of relaxing, calming music can contribute to calmer moods. Calming music can be combined with cognitive therapy to lower anxiety even more effectively than conventional therapy alone. Some studies suggest that specially designed music, such as music that includes tones that intentionally induce binaural beats to put brain waves into relaxed delta or theta rhythms, can help improve symptoms in anxious patients even more than music without these tones; listening to this music without other distractions (not while driving, cooking, talking, or reading) promotes the best benefits.
Music and MoodsAn analysis of 5 studies on music for depression concluded that music therapy is not only acceptable for depressed patients, but it actually helps improve their moods. Music has proven useful in helping patients with serious medical illnesses such as cancer, burns, and multiple sclerosis who are also depressed. If it can help in these situations, it may be able to help you and your loved ones experience more positive moods.
Music and SleepMany people listen to soothing music to help them fall asleep. This practice is supported by studies in a variety of settings. Just don’t try listening to lively dance music or rousing marches before you aim to fall asleep. Conversely, if you’re trying to wake up in the morning, go for the fast-tempo music rather than lullabies.
Music and StressSince ancient times, it has been known that certain kinds of music can help soothe away stress. Calming background music can significantly decrease irritability and promote calm in elderly nursing home patients with dementia. Music, widely chosen, lowers stress hormone levels. On the other hand, every parent of a teenager knows that certain kinds of music, particularly at high volumes, can induce stress. Knowing that certain kinds of music can alleviate stress is one thing; being mindful in choosing what kind of music to listen to is another. Choose your musical intake as carefully as you choose your food and friends.
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- Mental Health, Naturally: The Family Guide to Holistic Care for a Healthy Mind and Body (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)
July 22nd, 2014 · how the brain works, music and the brain
June 9th, 2014 · how the brain works, music and the brain
?"This suggests that the correlated brain patterns were the result of using areas thought to be involved in language processing. Therefore we can assume that musical training results in a rapid change in the cognitive mechanisms utilized for music perception and these shared mechanisms are usually employed for language." But music can do so much more, notes Michael Huckabee, professor and director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Division of Physician Assistant Education. In an article about the benefits of music on human health, he writes: ?"Music does something beyond our understanding. We can call it an endorphin release or a distraction, but it goes much deeper than that. Somehow music just does us good. And the good it does was just proven to be better." He speaks of a finding from researchers in Taiwan, who recently reviewed over 360 published studies on music therapy and concluded the data from these studies suggest cancer patients who routinely listen to music exhibit significantly fewer symptoms of depression, pain, fatigue and anxiety.
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