Music Processing Seems Unaffected By Alzheimer’s

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Music Processing Seems Unaffected By Alzheimer’s

Posted on June 8, 2010

Information that is “musically encoded” appears to boost short-term memory in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

According to a study in the Neuropsychologia journal, researchers presented the lyrics of 40 children’s songs to 13 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as well as 14 individuals with no history of neurodegenerative disease.

“The participants read short excerpts of each song while a recorded voice sang the lyrics, with instrumental accompaniment, or merely spoke them,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The participants were then asked to distinguish the 40 original lyrics from 40 new ones.” The individuals with Alzheimer’s recognized the sung lyrics with about 40 percent more accuracy than the lyrics that were only spoken. “The sung lyrics, however, had no apparent affect on the control subjects’ memories,” the Journal adds, “which were about twice as accurate on average.”
opportunity for caregivers.

The findings, which currently appear on-line in Neuropsychologia, offer possible applications in treating and caring for patients with AD.

Alzheimer , the most common form of dementia, is characterized by a general, progressive decline in cognitive function that typically presents first as impaired episodic memory. The onset and rate of this decline tends to vary across cognitive domains, and some functions may be preferentially spared in patients with Alzheimer.

This comes even more interesting when you see institutions using technology and MP3 players to enhance the quality of life of stroke or dementia patients. Reports of such experiences were published in another Wall Street Journal article last year: A Key for Unlocking Memories in which