The world is alive with the sounds of music. Babies react to sounds even before birth and that sense of hearing reaches far and wide within the brain of nearly every individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, intelligence, and politics. Music as sound is a primary language. As such, can music be associated with the integrities of memory and madness?
One of my earliest research projects studied how music may be associated with memory and madness – behavior. Those were the days when Alzheimer’s Disease was limited terminology and insurances didn’t cover cognitive disorders. New research technologies demonstrate that music may help prevent and treat memory and madness in senior populations.
In brain imaging scans, music has been shown to excite pleasure areas of the brain. Due to expenses, these studies have been very small.
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the use of music as therapy shows evidence that it positively affects many behaviors and memory functions. A new, large study at the University of Wisconsin explores music and Alzheimer’s Disease effectiveness. The State of Wisconsin and the University are investing $300,000 for this study. The study is part of a Catalyst Grant program at the University. Are the simple power of sounds and music effective in reducing memory and madness?
Music therapy has been studied as being beneficial for developmental diseases such as Autism as a treatment modality but not as a cure. The music therapy for autism studies, however, have been small but yielded promising results if further investment were granted.
With a rise in senior population, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia bring memory studies to the forefront. Therapeutic interventions and successes involving music therapy with the symptoms of memory loss offer exciting research opportunities. Wisconsin’s population of those age 65 or over is slightly higher than the USA national average. The new University of Wisconsin studies may have deep impact.
Access to different music resources are friendlier as more adults use MP3 players and cellular phones. Government (and private) sponsored organizations such as Older Adults Technology Services help seniors make use of computers and download resources. Many senior centers now offer courses to learn about computer use. Access to free music is virtually limitless through websites online. At no point in history has music been as accessible as it is now. Using music as a therapy tool may deliver some extraordinary benefits.
At a university in Belfast, a rather large and long study found that music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents. Studies also show that music, as a therapeutic intervention can relieve anxiety, depression in older people. Depression and anxiety may somewhat lead to cognitive impairment. There are many new studies citing evidence that music reaps many benefits for all ages.
Anesthesiologists have found that post-surgical patients listening to jazz music in the recovery room are more relaxed when researchers monitored heart rate. Is mellow jazz helpful for hospital use?
Technology can often confound other technologies. New hearing aids use special integrated sound technologies that facilitate conversations. Many older people wearing these hearing aids find that listening to MP3 music on these results in unwanted noise. You may need a simpler, older hearing aid for music listening.
Listening to loud music while driving may help you feel relaxed but studies show that it can lead to distracted driving and accidents.
Using music as therapy can be conducive as an aid in treating memory and madness issues. Much of the noted research has been published in the last two years, most in the past few months It is a growing field seeking more professionals. Of course, there are some people who simply don’t enjoy music listening. That’s what makes therapy very challenging. Music may offer no positive effects or increase anxiety even more.
Music therapy has many benefits for Alzheimer’s disease. It may help by soothing an agitated person, igniting associative memories, engage the mind even in the disease’s later stages, and improve appetite and eating in some cases. It is beneficial for symptoms of cognitive loss but it is not a cure. At best, like many drugs, it may slow progression.
So, if you remember too many tip-of-the-tongue memory losses, it may be time to schedule a cognitive assessment test with a memory healthcare professional. There are many available technologies and there are conflicting opinions about the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sometimes, for example, it may be neurovascular episodes. Take more than one test at different centers to assure a fair and less partial diagnosis. There’s much money to be made in the business of Alzheimer’s disease.
Author William Congreve (1697) wrote:
“Music has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”
and brings about the question, Can music heal? More studies are focusing on music therapy as a means of treating memory and madness. Music may not be all-encompassing but, with greater availability, may prove beneficial. More large research on music therapy should be investigated.