Patients suffering from dementia are nevertheless still able to render exceptional musical performances. For example, they can recognize music from childhood and reproduce lyrics and melodies of songs with four verses. Furthermore, behavioural symptoms such as psycho- motor agitation and crying, but also aggressive behaviour can be positively influenced by music and motivation and positive emotions can be increased. A variety of physiological and psychological changes occur when patients are listening to music. Previous research could show that music activated different parts of the brain especially in the temporal cortex, but also motoric areas in the frontal cortex, thalamus and cerebellum were essential for rhythm, melody and harmony perception and processing. Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals with various psychiatric or medical conditions. However, until now only little research has been directed towards non-pharmacological treatments like music therapy in dementia patients. Further research is warranted to investigate the long term influence of music therapy on patients suffering from dementia.
Neuropsychiatr. 2009;23(1):4-14. Kerer M, Marksteiner J, Hinterhuber H, Mazzola G, Steinberg R, Weiss EM. Abteilung für Allgemeine Psychiatrie, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck. email@example.com