Memories of Music Cannot Be Lost To Alzheimer’s And Dementia

Music inspires us, moves us, opens our hearts, and helps us express ourselves easily. Well, when one listens to some piece of music s/he enjoys, the brain reacts with something knows as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), which is experienced like a tingling in the brain or scalp, or some even call it a “head orgasm”.

A recent study published in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease showed that the brain part responsible for ASMR does not get lost to Alzheimer’s.

On the other hand, music can be of great help in the case of this condition. There are numerous similar studies that showed that it helped people restore their health, such as the story of Henry, who comes out of dementia while listening to songs from his youth.

According to an article named “The Power of Music on Alzheimer Disease and the Need to Understand the Underlying Molecular Mechanisms’, published in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism:

“In recent years, music has been introduced as a treatment modality for several central nervous system (CNS) pathologies extending from disturbed behavior caused by senile dementia to schizophrenic-like disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, recent findings have reported beneficial effects of music in Parkinson’s disease (PD), cerebral ischemia, pain, autism, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, it also has been shown that music can change the pattern of brain electrical activity in electroencephalography recordings. Interestingly, neuroimaging studies show that rhythm perception activates basal ganglia that are compromised to varying degrees in PD.

Music therapy has the ability to alleviate some symptoms of dementia, by providing access to lost memories or enhancing effective state and communicative skills. Although some criticisms and some methodological limitations have been pointed out, most parts of the studies have shown the benefits of music therapy in AD patients.

Music has been reported to improve healthy cognition in healthy adults, such as autobiographical memory, semantic memory, language ability, and cognitive function, or in neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as agitation, apathy, depression, and anxiety. “

According to Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in Radiology at the University of Utah Health and contributing author on this study,

“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 patient’s quality of life.”