How music can help dementia patients recover some memory

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Researchers found that music helps dementia patients recall emotions and memories. says by pairing music with everyday activities, patients can develop a rhythm to recall the memory of that activity, improving cognitive ability over time. 

A new case of dementia is diagnosed every three seconds, and doctors are still searching for answers.

Dr. James Galvin, MPH, director of the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health at Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine explained to Ivanhoe, “If you look at all the things we know that may be associated with the risk of developing dementia, the two strongest are age and family history, and I can’t change your age and I can’t change your genes.”

But there are actions you can take to lower your risk. Researchers who studied 157 sets of twins found those who played a musical instrument in older adulthood were 36 percent less likely to develop dementia. Playing an instrument can also reduce stress, maintain mental sharpness, and nurture social interactions. Even just listening to music is beneficial. So rent an instrument and start small with 15 to 20 minutes of focused practice per day. Eventually, you may want to find a buddy or a musical group to play with. Social engagement is more likely to keep you committed. 

One-third of adults 61 to 70 years of age have some form of hearing loss according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. But playing a musical instrument alters the brain waves in a way that improves a person's listening and hearing skills over a short time frame. 

Contributor(s) to this news report include: Paul Tewolde, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.