Using Music to Manage Anxiety in Those Living with Dementia

Monday, May 28, 2018

Researchers at the University of Utah Health are investigating the salience network of the brain to develop music-based treatments of anxiety for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Typically in Alzheimer’s disease this particular area of the brain is not affected. Previous research has shown that personalized music playlists have been beneficial for improving the mood of individuals living with dementia, reducing anxiety, depression and agitation. For three weeks, researchers chose meaningful songs for each participant to listen to while their brains were imaged. Using functional MRI researchers scanned images of different regions of the brain to determine where activity was found. The 20 second clips of music were played over twice and compared to periods of silence. After analyzing the images, the researchers found that music activates the brain and causes whole regions to communicate. While listening to the personalized playlists they found that the visual network, the salience network, the executive network and the cerebellar and corticocerebellar network pairs, all showed increased function. This study was only the beginning, with a small sample size of 17 and only one imaging session we cannot draw any definite conclusions. However, it looks like a worthwhile avenue to explore. Jeff Anderson for the University of Utah states “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".
SOURCE: LabManager: http://www.labmanager.com/news/2018/04/music-activates-regions-of-the-brain-spared-by-alzheimer-s-disease#.WwhB0e4vy70
DATE RETRIEVED: May 25, 2018

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