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Music for the Soul: Can Music Help Treat Dementia?

For many, music is a part of daily life. Whether one is going on a relatively long drive, is in the middle of doing tedious chores, or is busy studying, music fits organically into the lifestyles of many. It has the capacity to uplift and assist others through moments of doubt or grief. Understanding the multiplicative effects of listening to music, one may reasonably conclude that music can play a role in the world of medicine.

Research into the relationship between music and medicine has brought forth interesting results. It was found that research not only aided with physiological but also cognitive health. As a result of such promising conclusions, researchers have specifically looked into the effects of medicine in treating dementia. Dementia is defined as a combination of memory loss and the alteration of certain thinking capacities. Dementia involves a number of diseases, with Alzheimer’s being the most common.

Beatie Wolfe noted that residents in a senior center, including those with dementia, enjoyed listening to music. In a small experiment tested by Wolfe, it was found that residents particularly enjoyed her song “Wish.” Residents greatly enjoyed the song when it was played, even clapping to the beat of the song and singing along as well. Researchers noted that this may be due in part to the short phrases the artist utilizes, along with the repetitive nature of the song as well. In addition to the incorporation of both alliteration and rhyme in the song, the way in which the song was structured allowed for greater enjoyment. In addition to the impact of the catchiness of a song, researchers also explained that music can also help stir up memories, helping individuals facing dementia recall important moments in their lives. However, it is important to note that the negative to this is that such music could evoke painful or traumatic memories among those facing dementia, proving more disadvantageous.

Despite this con, the role of music in helping mediate human health continues to be researched. There is great hope for music to make a positive impact in multiple facets of life.

Thank you for reading!

- Aprile Bertomo

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