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The Effects of Music Therapy on Cognition, Psychiatric Symptoms, and Activities of Daily Living in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease [2018]

Background:Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia, affecting millions of older people worldwide. However, pharmacological therapies have not achieved desirable clinical efficacy in the past decades. Non-pharmacological therapies have been receiving increased attention to treat dementia in recent years.

Objective:This study explores the effects of music therapy on cognitive function and mental wellbeing of patients with AD.

Methods:A total number of 298 AD patients with mild, moderate, or severe dementia participated in the study. The participants with each grade of severity were randomly divided into three groups, which were a singing group, a lyric reading group, and a control group. These three groups received different interventions for three months. All participants underwent a series of tests on cognitive functions, neuropsychological symptoms, and activities of daily living at baseline, three months, and six months.

Results:The analysis shows that music therapy is more effective for improving verbal fluency and for alleviating the psychiatric symptoms and caregiver distress than lyrics reading in patients with AD. Stratified analysis shows that music therapy is effective for enhancing memory and language ability in patients with mild AD and reducing the psychiatric symptoms and caregiver distress in patients with moderate or severe AD. However, no significant effect was found for activities of daily living in patients with mild, moderate, or severe AD.

Conclusion:This study suggests that music therapy is effective in enhancing cognitive function and mental wellbeing and can be recommended as an alternative approach to manage AD associated symptoms.

Lyu, Jihui | Zhang, Jingnan | Mu, Haiyan | Li, Wenjie | Champ, Mei | Xiong, Qian | Gao, Tian | Xie, Lijuan | Jin, Weiye | Yang, Wan | Cui, Mengnan | Gao, Maolong | Li, Mo
Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 1347-1358, 2018
DOI: 10.3233/JAD-180183
https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad180183