Investigating the power of music for dementia

A recent study suggested that practicing and actively listening to music may help slow the decline of cognitive function in people ages 62–78 years. Photo: Pexels

(Yasemin Nicola Sakay/ Medical News Today) — Music can help people with dementia recover some aspects of their memory, feel calmer, and boost their mood—and evidence of this is growing each day. However, what is it about music that has such a profound effect on our brains? And is this effect long-lasting?

You might have come across a video of an older person with dementia where a particular piece of music makes them sway to the music, bringing back a flood of memories, or despite not remembering their family members, they start playing the notes to a song they used to know on the piano or violin.

This phenomenon is what leaves many people puzzled about the neurological disorder that is dementia. How can someone forget their own children’s names but remember something as complex as a classical piece of music?

That question was one of the many we aimed to seek an answer to in our April podcast “In Conversation: Investigating the power of music for dementia”. (…)