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

To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.

“Spring” movement from Four Seasons had improved autobiographical memories — memories from their own childhood, adult life and recent past. Unfortunately, however, most large, well-controlled studies looking specifically at memory have not found a benefit of music therapy. Still, there are many anecdotal reports of music unlocking happy memories in patients. Many dementia patients show behavioral symptoms that are difficult to control. Can music help there? I think the evidence is more compelling for music’s effect on the behavioral symptoms. The longer someone has Alzheimer’s disease, the more likely he or she is to experience behavioral problems, including depression, apathy, agitation and frustration. These are some of the more challenging symptoms that patients and their caregivers and families face. If music can reduce those symptoms, that would be incredibly helpful. We know that the regions of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease are diffuse and increase in number and severity over time. But even late in the disease, music may be able to activate the circuits that remain intact and provide pleasure and improved mood. Studies have found that music therapy can reduce agitation and anxiety, decrease depression and improve quality of life. At the facility where we donated the first batch of iPods, staff reported that some patients were eating a whole meal or sleeping through the night for the first time in months after individualized music therapy. What inspired you to establish this program? I was struck when I heard about what Music & Memory was doing. At our center we spend most of our time conducting research and running clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, and we are very excited about where the field is going. We think we are on the cusp of having drugs that, for the first time, can actually slow the course of the disease. Unfortunately, though, right now we are not able to revert severely demented patients back to mild states. So while we are very excited about the future, we can’t and won’t leave behind the millions of people who have dementia now. They still need us, and their families still need us, and if there are ways we can help them, we will. To make a tax-deductible donation of iPods and MP3 players, as well as related items, to the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA’s Tunes for Alzheimer’s Patients program, go to: eastonad.ucla.edu To view a video about UCLA’s Tunes for Alzheimer’s Patients program, go to: uclahealth.org/ musicdementia Vital Signs Spring 2014 Vol. 62 9 “Spring” movement from Four Seasons had Alzheimer’s disease are diffuse and increase Unfortunately, though, right now we are not improved autobiographical memories — in number and severity over time. But able to revert severely demented patients memories from their own childhood, adult even late in the disease, music may be able back to mild states. So while we are very life and recent past. Unfortunately, however, to activate the circuits that remain intact excited about the future, we can’t and won’t most large, well-controlled studies looking and provide pleasure and improved mood. leave behind the millions of people who have specifically at memory have not found a Studies have found that music therapy dementia now. They still need us, and their benefit of music therapy. Still, there are many can reduce agitation and anxiety, decrease families still need us, and if there are ways anecdotal reports of music unlocking happy depression and improve quality of life. At we can help them, we will. memories in patients. the facility where we donated the first batch of iPods, staff reported that some patients To make a tax-deductible donation of Many dementia patients show behavioral iPods and MP3 players, as well as related were eating a whole meal or sleeping through symptoms that are difficult to control. items, to the Mary S. Easton Center the night for the first time in months after Can music help there? for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at individualized music therapy. UCLA’s Tunes for Alzheimer’s Patients I think the evidence is more compelling for What inspired you to establish program, go to: eastonad.ucla.edu music’s effect on the behavioral symptoms. The longer someone has Alzheimer’s disease, this program? the more likely he or she is to experience I was struck when I heard about what Music behavioral problems, including depression, & Memory was doing. At our center we To view a video about apathy, agitation and frustration. These are spend most of our time conducting research UCLA’s Tunes for some of the more challenging symptoms that and running clinical trials for Alzheimer’s Alzheimer’s Patients patients and their caregivers and families disease, and we are very excited about where program, go to: face. If music can reduce those symptoms, the field is going. We think we are on the uclahealth.org/ that would be incredibly helpful. We know cusp of having drugs that, for the first time, musicdementia that the regions of the brain affected by can actually slow the course of the disease. Vital Signs Spring 2014 Vol. 62 9 “Spring” movement from Four Seasons had improved autobiographical memories — memories from their own childhood, adult life and recent past. Unfortunately, however, most large, well-controlled studies looking specifically at memory have not found a benefit of music therapy. Still, there are many anecdotal reports of music unlocking happy memories in patients. Many dementia patients show behavioral symptoms that are difficult to control. Can music help there? I think the evidence is more compelling for music’s effect on the behavioral symptoms. The longer someone has Alzheimer’s disease, the more likely he or she is to experience behavioral problems, including depression, apathy, agitation and frustration. These are some of the more challenging symptoms that patients and their caregivers and families face. If music can reduce those symptoms, that would be incredibly helpful. We know that the regions of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease are diffuse and increase in number and severity over time. But even late in the disease, music may be able to activate the circuits that remain intact and provide pleasure and improved mood. Studies have found that music therapy can reduce agitation and anxiety, decrease depression and improve quality of life. At the facility where we donated the first batch of iPods, staff reported that some patients were eating a whole meal or sleeping through the night for the first time in months after individualized music therapy. What inspired you to establish this program? I was struck when I heard about what Music & Memory was doing. At our center we spend most of our time conducting research and running clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, and we are very excited about where the field is going. We think we are on the cusp of having drugs that, for the first time, can actually slow the course of the disease. Unfortunately, though, right now we are not able to revert severely demented patients back to mild states. So while we are very excited about the future, we can’t and won’t leave behind the millions of people who have dementia now. They still need us, and their families still need us, and if there are ways we can help them, we will. To make a tax-deductible donation of iPods and MP3 players, as well as related items, to the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA’s Tunes for Alzheimer’s Patients program, go to: eastonad.ucla.edu To view a video about UCLA’s Tunes for Alzheimer’s Patients program, go to: uclahealth.org/ musicdementia Vital Signs Spring 2014 Vol. 62 9