The amazing Science has once again proven that music is ultimate, with new research finding that those who suffer from poor brain function through alzheimers or dementia will experience noticeable improvement at the sound of their favourite musical score.
Researchers in the US spent four months studying the effects of tracks from culturally significant classics such as The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio have on sufferers. Group singing exercises were held inviting those with moderate to severe conditions to partake. Of course, not every one chose to sing but all undertook a cognitive test prior to the experiment.
At the end of the 4-month period, another test was held and it was clear that those who did sing experienced a far greater increase in mental facets including cognitive function, drawing and even greater life-satisfaction.
Following on from the results, Jane Flinn, a neuroscientist at George Mason University in Virginia has begun to champion group-singing sessions for all care homes who don’t currently have a similar program. The concept has proven to be highly entertaining for sufferers while being beneficial to their condition and overall economic.
“Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful,” said Flinn. “The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging.”
Flinn’s colleague Linda Maguire added, “A lot of people have grown up singing songs and for a long time the memories are still there. When they start singing it can revive those memories.” Tunes such as The Sound of Music, When You Wish Upon a Star and Somewhere Over the Rainbow fared well with patients, as most people grow up singing such songs around the house.
The findings match up nicely with similar research done in the area. The UK Alzheimer’s Society holds regular singing sessions nationwide with noticeable results. A spokesman commented:
“There is much anecdotal evidence that the groups have real benefits for people with dementia. Even when many memories are hard to retrieve, music can sometimes still be recalled, if only for a short while. The sessions help people with dementia communicate, improving their mood and leaving them feeling good about themselves.”
(Via The Guardian)