Posted by WBHI on Aug 2, 2012 in Think About It
by Barbara Bronson Gray for U.S. News:
It’s been said that music soothes the savage beast, but if you’re the one playing the instrument it might benefit your brain.
A growing body of evidence suggests that learning to play an instrument and continuing to practice and play it may offer mental benefits throughout life. Hearing has also been shown to be positively affected by making music.
The latest study, published in the July issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that musical instrument training may reduce the effects of mental decline associated with aging. The research found that older adults who learned music in childhood and continued to play an instrument for at least 10 years outperformed others in tests of memory and cognitive ability.
It also revealed that sustaining musical activity during advanced age may enhance thinking ability, neutralizing any negative impact of age and even lack of education. It’s unclear, however, whether starting an instrument in adulthood provides any mental advantages.
Posted by WBHI on Jul 12, 2012 in Think About It
by Daily Disruption:
Many patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and individuals concerned about developing memory loss feel they have limited options. While there is no ‘magic pill’ to cure or prevent AD, a new book outlines a cutting-edge approach to systematically address this disease.
Besides eating properly and exercising, there are several useful strategies for managing AD, according to Richard S. Isaacson, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and author of the new book, “Alzheimer’s Treatment, Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide.”
“As a physician and someone who has several family members with Alzheimer’s, it’s important I provide as many resources possible to help patients and their families manage this condition,” said Dr. Isaacson. “After seeing success with my own patients, I wrote this book to educate those who I will not get a chance to see in my clinic and may not be aware of all their options.”
Posted by WBHI on Jul 9, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Tom Jacobs for Pacific Standard:
Music has charms to soothe even those suffering from severe Alzheimer’s disease. That’s the key finding of encouraging new research from France, which found music therapy enhanced the moods of patients as much as four weeks after the conclusion of a four-week-long program.
It’s the latest in a series of studies that point to music therapy as an effective tool in dealing with dementia. The Italian Psychogeriatric Association just reviewed 32 papers published over the past decade, and found a pattern of significant reductions in such symptoms as depression, delusions, and hallucinations.
The new French study, published in the journal Music Perception, is—like most studies of people suffering from dementia—based on a very small sample: 11 people. But it was structured to provide a direct comparison between music therapy and an alternative treatment approach: specifically, eating and cooking.
Posted by WBHI on Jul 6, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Erica Bryant for WSOCTV:
For the past two years, 94-year-old Ted Knight has battled dementia, spending days bedridden and silent. But a new therapy is creating a spark.
Hospice social worker Emily Kennedy uses different apps to bring the world to help him and to connect using her iPad.
“The thing with working with people with dementia, you have to be in the moment and meet them whereever they are,” Kennedy said.
With the iPad, she can quickly switch gears from birds or art to scenes from places Knight has visited or music he’s heard.
For patients’ families, the therapy is priceless.
by Tam Cummings for Untangling Dementia:
As researchers learn more about how the brain functions, they are more certain than ever that staying mentally active is a key ingredient of aging well. Research from the National Institute of Aging and its Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the Nun Study, the Cambridge-based Cognitive Function and Ageing Study and others all point to the same thing: Use it or lose it!
Mental exercise isn’t going to stop dementia from happening, but it does appear to alter the course a bit for some individuals. According to researchers from the University of Sydney, “Maintaining a more mentally ‘switched-on’ lifestyle over many years may lead to structural benefits in the brain towards the end of life.”
In light of these revelations, here are seven top cognitive exercises for your brain:
1. Dancing: This activity exercises the brain as well as the body. Dancing requires all four lobes of your brain to focus and coordinate movement between large muscle groups in time with the beat of music, all while performing sequences of steps. Coordinating dance steps with a partner makes for an even greater challenge for the brain.
Posted by WBHI on May 31, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Dementia Today:
It is important to have failure proof Alzheimer’s activities every day for your loved one if his or her level of cognitive ability allows participation. The objective is to offer simple activities, which help reinforce the patient’s self-esteem while relieving boredom and frustration. This, for the caregiver, involves being alert to the preserved abilities of the patient and helping develop and use the skills he or she still has. The more involved Alzheimer’s patients remain with the world around them, the more resourceful they will become at finding ways to keep their world from slipping away.
Emphasize Assets rather than Deficits
The failure proof Alzheimer’s activities described here may be used by anyone who comes in contact with the Alzheimer’s patient: the family caregiver, the companion, the nurse’s aide or the occasional visitor. They are described as failure- free activities because they are adapted to suit the needs and capacity of the person with memory loss, and are to be used in a way that will enable the person to succeed.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 12, 2012 in Great Minds Think Alike
by Paula Spencer Scott for caring.com
If you’re looking for a new way to enrich the life of your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia — one that can soothe anxiety, magnify pleasure, pass the time meaningfully, and perhaps even spark glimpses of the person he or she used to be — consider programing an iPod.
The power of music to do all these things for those with dementia is illustrated in an inspiring new documentary called “Alive Inside,” about Music & Memory, a nonprofit organization that brings iPods to people with dementia in nursing homes.
Music Therapy is increasingly used to improve the lives of those with Alzheimer’s. The twist of Music & Memory is to use iPods and headphones, customizing playlists for the style and era of music that the patient loves.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 25, 2012 in Think About It
by Alice Sawayer for My Plain View
Have you ever thought about the role music plays in our world? Music breaks down cultural and linguistic barriers, it crosses social and economic lines, and it bridges generations. Music has been described as the universal language since it can unite people like nothing else can.
Music has the uncanny ability to trigger any emotion — happiness, sadness, fear, anxiety or loneliness, and it can change your mood almost instantly. It can put a smile on your face or tears in your eyes. It can temporarily lift a person from a depressed state of mind.
Music, and more specifically music therapy, can play an important part in the treatment of rehabilitating and improving the lives of patients with emotional, spiritual, social and psychological needs. It can provide an effective and enjoyable means for the maintenance and improvement of cognitive, physical and socio-emotional functioning.
by Adriana Barton for The Globe And Mail
Medieval churches were so convinced of music’s mind-altering powers that they forbade dissonant chords such as the tritone, the “Devil in music,” believed to incite demonic acts. Although their fears were unfounded, the priests were right about one thing: Music really can rewire the brain.
Neuroscientists are studying music as a medical intervention for patients with conditions such as stroke, speech loss and Parkinson’s disease.
The interventions are similar to those used in music therapy, a centuries-old approach to treating mood disorders and other conditions. The difference is that academic researchers, many of them based in Canada, are investigating music’s healing potential using brain imaging and other high-tech tools.
Unlike drug therapies or surgical brain implants, musical interventions are safe, enjoyable and noninvasive, notes Jessica Grahn, a neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario. “There is essentially no downside.”
Posted by WBHI on Feb 16, 2012 in Come To Think Of It
by Dr. Oliver Sacks for Alzheimer’s Weekly
Where I work at a hospital and at a number of old age homes, there are a lot of people who have Alzheimer’s or other dementias of one sort or another. Some of them are confused, some are agitated, some are lethargic, some have almost lost language.
But all of them, without exception, respond to music. This is especially true of old songs and songs they once knew. These seem to touch springs of memory and emotion which may be completely inaccessible to them.
It is most amazing to see people who are out of it and sort of dark respond suddenly to a music therapist and a familiar song. At first they will smile, then perhaps keep time, and then join in. They sort of regain that time of their lives and that identity they had at the time of their lives when they first heard the song.