Study: playing and singing music can alleviate symptoms of dementia

Posted on: May 6, 2019

“A million people in the UK are expected to be living with dementia by 2025,” writes Kelly Oakes in Thursday’s (5/2) (U.K.). “When he was just 30 years old, Daniel … a former drummer and engineer … had to give up work [after being diagnosed with] a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease…. Daniel has joined a choir of people with dementia, put together by actress Vicky McClure…. The 18-strong choir … all … are living with dementia in one form or another…. McClure’s choir took part in a study run by Sebastian Crutch, a professor of neuropsychology at the Dementia Research Centre, University College London, into how music and visual arts affect people with dementia…. Crutch’s work … showed that movement and heart rate decreased during the choir rehearsals [probably indicating] that they’re feeling calmer as they sing…. Dementia causes particular problems with short-term memory…. Part of your long-term memory … stores information on how to do everyday things, like … in the case of a former musician like Daniel … how to play your instrument. When damage to the brain makes accessing those memories harder, music seems to be able to flip a switch to bring at least some of them back.”

Posted May 6, 2019