Benefits of music for Alzheimer’s, stroke patients

Posted on: November 17, 2009

“One of the raps on iPods is that users tend to close themselves off from other people and retreat into their own private world,” writes Melinda Beck in Monday’s (11/16) Wall Street Journal. “But with stroke and dementia patients, iPods and other MP3 players are having just the opposite effect. … Ann Povodator, an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient in Boynton Beach, Fla., listens to her beloved opera and Yiddish songs every day on an iPod with her home health aide or her daughter when she comes to visit. … Caregivers have observed for decades that Alzheimer’s patients can still remember and sing songs long after they’ve stopped recognizing names and faces. … There’s growing evidence that listening to music can also help stimulate seemingly lost memories and even help restore some cognitive function. … Dr. [Concetta] Tomaino, who has studied the therapeutic effects of music for more than 30 years, is spearheading a new program to provide iPods loaded with customized playlists to help spread the benefits of music therapy to Alzheimer’s patients even at home. ‘If someone loved opera or classical or jazz or religious music, or if they sang and danced when the family got together, we can recreate that music and help them relive those experiences,’ she says. Dr. Tomaino says she frequently sees dementia patients make gains in cognitive function after music therapy.”

Posted November 17, 2009