Updated: Nov 19, 2021
“Ever get chills listening to a particularly moving piece of music? You can thank the salience network of the brain for that emotional joint. Surprisingly, this region also remains an island of remembrance that is spared from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.” The research was published by a team from the University of Utah.
In their previous study, U of U demonstrated the effects of individualized music intervention on patients with dementia and how it can help to approach anxiety, depression, and agitation in people with dementia.
In comprehensive research that took 3 weeks, the researchers helped patients select their preferred music and trained their caregivers on using a portable media player full of the patients’ music of choice.
Jace King, a graduate student in the Brain Network Lab and first author on the study, said, “When you put headphones on dementia patients and play familiar music, they come alive.” “Music is like an anchor, grounding the patient back in reality,” he added.
The researchers scanned various regions in the patients’ brains and examined how they behaved after listening to 20 seconds of individualized music versus 20 seconds of silence.
By listening to a personal selection of music, researchers found out that music activates the brain and causes the whole region of the brain to communicate.
While the study was taken from a small sample of 17 participants and only included single imaging sessions for each participant, it gives room for more studies to be done.
However, there’s hope when music is played to patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Anderson says, “It might make the symptoms more manageable, decrease the cost of care and improve a patient’s quality of life.” Read more.