August 26, 2017

Alzheimer's Roundup: Singing and Dancing edition

“Most people associate music with important events and a wide array of emotions.
The connection can be so strong that hearing a tune long after the occurrence evokes a memory of it.”
— Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Line-dancing is better than a walk to fight Alzheimer's:

Pensioners who learn to line dance, take up jazz or square dancing are better protected from memory loss and dementia than those who walk or cycle, a study shows. Dancing can help fight off the loss of brainpower as we age and brain scans show that it works better over a period of 18 months than spells of cycling or Nordic walking.

....The study’s lead author, Dr Kathrin Rehfeld from the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases, said: ‘Everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible.  I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.’

Singing and Music have Benefits to those with Alzheimer's

A growing body of research suggests that music — like art and other creative forms of therapy — can stir emotions and memories, enhance enjoyment and self-esteem, and enrich the lives of people with dementia....Music may even play a role in helping to ward off Alzheimer’s. Researchers from Loyola University in Chicago found that retired orchestra musicians who had spent a lifetime of playing musical instruments were less likely to develop dementia in old age.

....Singing as part of a group led to improvements in the thinking and memory skills and boost mood in those with dementia....“These data show that participation in an active singing program for an extended period of time can improve cognition in patients with moderate to severe dementia,” the researchers wrote.

Alzheimer's patients' brains boosted by belting out Sound of Music

The sessions appeared to have the most striking effect on people with moderate to severe dementia, with patients scoring higher on cognitive and drawing tests, and also on a satisfaction-with-life questionnaire at the end of the study....Jane Flinn, a neuroscientist at George Mason University in Virginia, said care homes that did not hold group singing sessions should consider them, because they were cheap, entertaining and beneficial for patients with Alzheimer's.

Choir of Alzheimer's patients sings tunes from memory

They're the songs that get stuck in our heads – and not nearly so annoying when placed in the context of a choir made up of Alzheimer's patients.  "That's where the magic comes in." ...Suddenly patients who entered the room having difficulty holding a thought or stringing even a few words together, belt out tunes from Rodgers and Hammerstein and the Beatles...."We know that music is stored in a part of the brain that's last affected by Alzheimer's disease."

Alzheimer's Disease: Music Brings Patients 'Back to Life'

"When I end up in a nursing home, I'll want to have my music with me," said Dan Cohen, executive director of Music & Memory. ...Personalized playlists, chosen by loved ones, make patients light up. "They're more alert, more attentive, more cooperative, more engaged," he said. "Even if they can't recognize loved ones and they've stopped speaking, they hear music and they come alive."

Remind music app helps Alzheimer's patients bring back memories

After being inspired by the documentary Alive Inside, a group of student designers in Sweden created Remind which allows families to curate playlists that help people with Alzheimer's remember parts of their lives through music .

The design team created a simplified MP3 player that feels like a smooth stone to make it easier for patients with any form of dementia to use.  A smartphone application allows the patient's family to personalize playlists.  Unfortunately, this award-winning design has yet to be produced.

Posted by Jill Fallon at August 26, 2017 12:35 PM | Permalink