Study Says Music Can Help Alzheimer's Patients

Posted Feb 26, 2009 by Samantha A. Torrence
A new study suggests that Alzheimer's patients can slow the progress of the disease by listening to their favorite songs.
If you could have a soundtrack of your life what would you add? This may be a real question to think about in the future to aid in memory loss prevention. A newly completed study suggests that our favorite songs may be hardwired into our brains and could help people bring forth memories that are immune from Alzheimer's.
Professor Petr Janata and his team from the University of California conducted a study titled "The Neural Architecture of Music-Evoked Autobiographical Memories," which has been published in the Cerebral Cortex journal.
Janata and his team studied the correlation between increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex while playing a person's favorite tunes. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain directly behind the forehead and is often referred to as "the minds eye." This area also seems to be the most immune to the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
The UK Telegraph reports:
"Because memory for autobiographically important music seems to be spared in people with Alzheimer's disease, one of his long-term goals is to use this research to help develop music-based therapy for people with the disease," Prof Janata said.
"Providing patients with MP3 players and customized playlists could prove to be a quality-of-life improvement strategy that would be both effective and economical.
"What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head.
"It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person's face in your mind's eye. Now we can see the association between those two things – the music and the memories."
Alzheimer's research is increasingly becoming cutting edge. This is good news for a population that keeps increasing in lifespan and becoming more subject to age related illnesses.
So now the question is; "What's the story of your life?"