The benefits of music in Alzheimer’s disease
Music is increasingly used as a therapy in various fields... and what if memories linked to music were spared when the brain is affected by Alzheimer's disease?
In parallel to the research done to find effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or to slow down its progression, various ways to improve the daily life of patients are being studied. You may have already seen videos of patients whose faces seem to light up while listening to a familiar song? One of the therapies being explored is indeed music therapy.
Studies suggest that this is due to the fact that the brain areas related to musical memory are relatively spared by the disease, or at least longer than other areas. Indeed, analysis of AD biomarkers in regions involved in the processing of music-related memory information, such as the anterior caudal cortex and the ventral supplementary motor area, suggests a less advanced development of AD compared to other regions of the brain
Several studies have looked at the effect of music-based therapies on dementia-related symptoms, such as depression, agitation, apathy and irritability, and also on cognition. Although the results are encouraging, there is still a lack of high-level evidence-based studies. Nevertheless, given the increase in the number of articles published on the subject in the last decade, and therefore the interest shown by the scientific community, it is still a very interesting research avenue!