Researchers from the University of Toronto said that regular listening to music of personal importance to the patient positively affects brain plasticity in people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. Their findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Music that has a special meaning for anyone, such as the song she danced to at her wedding, stimulates the network between neurons, promoting better brain function,” says Dr. Michael Thot, author of the study.

The study included 14 people with mild cognitive impairment or early dementia, six of whom were musicians. For an hour a day, participants listened to songs that reminded them of important moments in their lives. Before the start of the experiment and three weeks later, an MRI was performed to assess any changes in the brain. While ringing, subjects listened to both music that had a personal meaning, as well as similar new music, but without personal meaning.

When the participants listened to new music, brain activity was primarily visible in the auditory cortex. However, when playing music important to them, a strong activation of neurons was observed in the prefrontal cortex, which indicates the involvement of cognitive functions, as well as changes in the white matter and connections between neurons. This was associated with better results on neuropsychological tests, especially those that examine memory. The benefits were shared by both the musicians and the rest of the participants.

It’s a simple way to stimulate brain exercise in people with early symptoms of cognitive decline. It is enough to play your favorite songs associated with important moments in life ”- commented the authors.

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Source: DOI: 10.3233 / JAD-210610 (PAP)

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