Music Can Penetrate the Fog of Alzheimer's Disease | Vital Signs | UCLA Health

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i nt e rv i e w Music Can Penetrate the Fog of Alzheimer’s Disease Can listening to music soothe an agitated patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or even unlock happy memories from better days? Although much of the evidence is anecdotal, there is plenty to suggest that songs can, at minimum, bring a smile to the face of a dementia patient. And that is good enough for Joshua Grill, PhD, assistant professor of neurology and director of the Katherine and Benjamin Kagan Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Development Program at UCLA’s Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research. Dr. Grill is on a campaign to collect pre-owned iPods and MP3 players, iTunes gift cards, headphones and related items for Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes. The program is a partnership between the Easton Center and the national nonprofit organization Music & Memory, which provides music therapy to nursing homes in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Grill discusses the evidence for music’s benefits for dementia patients. Joshua Grill, PhD UCLAHEALTH.ORG 1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631) How much is known about music’s therapeutic potential for patients with Alzheimer’s disease? Studies have found that music has the ability to uniquely activate the brain. One need look no further than a child learning the alphabet to see the power of musical melody in learning. Music clearly affects the brain differently from spoken word or a series of tones that don’t form a melody, and studies have even shown that it can activate pleasure and reward centers in the brain. Specifically thinking about music and dementia, there are many anecdotal reports of Alzheimer’s patients who are so amnestic they can’t remember their own family members, yet they retain the ability to recall, perform and, perhaps most important, enjoy music. In fact, one case report described a musician who was well into the course of dementia and could still learn new songs. Given music’s power to evoke memories in all of us, is it possible it could have memory-related benefits for dementia patients? There are a few studies to support music as a strategy to improve memory in patients with amnestic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. One study suggested mild cognitive benefits in patients in a nursing home after group music therapy, including improved memory function. Another small study suggested that mild patients who listened to Vivaldi’s i nt e rv i e w Music Can Penetrate the Fog of Alzheimer’s Disease Can listening to music soothe an agitated patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or even unlock happy memories from better days? Although much of the evidence is anecdotal, there is plenty to suggest that songs can, at minimum, bring a smile to the face of a dementia patient. And that is good enough for Joshua Grill, How much is known about music’s perhaps most important, enjoy music. In fact, PhD, assistant professor of neurology and therapeutic potential for patients with one case report described a musician who director of the Katherine and Benjamin Alzheimer’s disease? was well into the course of dementia and Kagan Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Studies have found that music has the ability could still learn new songs. Development Program at UCLA’s Mary to uniquely activate the brain. One need Given music’s power to evoke memories S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease look no further than a child learning the in all of us, is it possible it could Research. Dr. Grill is on a campaign to alphabet to see the power of musical melody have memory-related benefits for collect pre-owned iPods and MP3 players, in learning. Music clearly affects the brain dementia patients? iTunes gift cards, headphones and related differently from spoken word or a series of items for Alzheimer’s patients in nursing There are a few studies to support music as a tones that don’t form a melody, and studies homes. The program is a partnership strategy to improve memory in patients with have even shown that it can activate pleasure between the Easton Center and the national amnestic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. and reward centers in the brain. Specifically nonprofit organization Music & Memory, One study suggested mild cognitive benefits thinking about music and dementia, there which provides music therapy to nursing in patients in a nursing home after group are many anecdotal reports of Alzheimer’s homes in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Grill music therapy, including improved memory patients who are so amnestic they can’t discusses the evidence for music’s benefits function. Another small study suggested remember their own family members, yet for dementia patients. that mild patients who listened to Vivaldi’s they retain the ability to recall, perform and, Joshua Grill, PhD UCLAHEALTH.ORG 1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631) i nt e rv i e w Music Can Penetrate the Fog of Alzheimer’s Disease Can listening to music soothe an agitated patient with Alzheimer’s disease, or even unlock happy memories from better days? Although much of the evidence is anecdotal, there is plenty to suggest that songs can, at minimum, bring a smile to the face of a dementia patient. And that is good enough for Joshua Grill, PhD, assistant professor of neurology and director of the Katherine and Benjamin Kagan Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Development Program at UCLA’s Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research. Dr. Grill is on a campaign to collect pre-owned iPods and MP3 players, iTunes gift cards, headphones and related items for Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes. The program is a partnership between the Easton Center and the national nonprofit organization Music & Memory, which provides music therapy to nursing homes in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Grill discusses the evidence for music’s benefits for dementia patients. Joshua Grill, PhD UCLAHEALTH.ORG 1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631) How much is known about music’s therapeutic potential for patients with Alzheimer’s disease? Studies have found that music has the ability to uniquely activate the brain. One need look no further than a child learning the alphabet to see the power of musical melody in learning. Music clearly affects the brain differently from spoken word or a series of tones that don’t form a melody, and studies have even shown that it can activate pleasure and reward centers in the brain. Specifically thinking about music and dementia, there are many anecdotal reports of Alzheimer’s patients who are so amnestic they can’t remember their own family members, yet they retain the ability to recall, perform and, perhaps most important, enjoy music. In fact, one case report described a musician who was well into the course of dementia and could still learn new songs. Given music’s power to evoke memories in all of us, is it possible it could have memory-related benefits for dementia patients? There are a few studies to support music as a strategy to improve memory in patients with amnestic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. One study suggested mild cognitive benefits in patients in a nursing home after group music therapy, including improved memory function. Another small study suggested that mild patients who listened to Vivaldi’s