Alzheimer's Disease and Potential Benefit of Music Therapy: A Work in Progress Side: 1 of 1
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Lindy Noll, D
Therapy: A I
)epartment of Psychology, Cc
Faculty Mentor: Susan
liege of Arts
People are living longer due to advancement in the medical and
technology fields. In 2008, 12.8% of Americans were 65 years or older,
with 10% of this group suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD). Since
1980, the number of people with the disease has doubled. The cause and
cure are currently unknown. AD can be devastating, as memory and
functioning begin to decline and once-simple tasks become difficult.
While research to find a cure is underway, music therapy may be helpful
in increasing the quality of life for sufferers. When recognizable music is
played, many patients are able to hum or sing along with the song despite
not remembering what they had just said. This suggests that music therapy
can have a positive effect on people suffering from AD.
Table 1.1 Clinical benefits of music therapy
Maintenance and reattainment of skills
encourages learning new material
improves memory skills for a short period of time
motivates and encourages purposeful inicraction
promotes interaction within sessions
fosters spontaneous bchaviours in social situations
advances spousal carcgivcrs' communications skills
reduces agitation and disniptive behaviour
It is first essential to look at some research on potential causes of Alz
*The Amyloid 3 protein combined with genetic factors is currently being ,
created from the proteins accumulate in the brain and affect the declarati
Rats who were trained to pull levers were injected with the A3 proteins. 1
the effects wore off the next day. This suggests that the proteins may begi
adulthood, eventually causing AD. There are vaccines and a new compou
developed to prohibit the protein from accumulating (241).
*The cholinergic hypothesis suggests that a choline acetyltransferase (Chi
This enzyme is used to create acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is inv
skills (Francis 137). When given medication that blocks the acetylcholine
developed amnesia. A medication that can reverse these effects could pol
0 Since patients are able to sing words to a song, but have trouble speaking
affected parts of the brain. The right hemisphere is considered the creativ
hemisphere is more logical. The earliest case study on the right hemisphe
an attack of a violent illness which resulted in a paralysis of the entire rig
loss of speech. He can sing certain hymns, which he had learned before h
distinctly as any healthy person...Yet this man is dumb, cannot say a singl
communicate by making signs with his hand" (Springer and Deutch 15).
his brain being paralyzed, he was still able to sing. AD patients can usual]
becomes severe, but their brains continue to shrink. It was suggested that
becomes damaged, the effects are less obvious compared to the left hemi
right hemisphere uses more brain tissue when processing compared to the
be a possibility as to why AD patients are still able to retain their ability t
Since no one is sure what causes AD and music seems to have an effect, m
0 A study of aggression shows that music therapy may be beneficial in the
term (Ledger and Baker 335). There was a control group who got no the
who got weekly therapy (33 1 ). If there is evidence that music therapy car
then it must have affected the cognitive progress somehow.
*Another study looks at how music can be effective in healthy elderly peo
organ with weekly group and private music lessons (Koga 1 9) . Research
physical health and determined that depression, anxiety, and loneliness h
900% increase in growth hormones (2 1-22). Normally growth hormones d
may or may not have anti-aging properties. While AD patients may not b
MATERIALS AND METHODS
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Noll, Lindy & Eve, Susan Brown. Alzheimer's Disease and Potential Benefit of Music Therapy: A Work in Progress, poster, April 15, 2010; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86131/m1/1/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Honors College.