Music activates regions of the brain spared by Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers are looking to the salience network of the brain to develop music-based treatments to help alleviate anxiety in patients with dementia | University of Utah Health | via ScienceDaily

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Previous work has demonstrated the effect of a personalised music program on mood for dementia patients. Researchers at he University of Utah Health  set out to examine a mechanism that activates the attentional network in the salience region of the brain. The results offer a new way to approach anxiety, depression and agitation in patients with dementia.

Researchers helped participants select meaningful songs and trained the patient and caregiver on how to use a portable media player loaded with the self-selected collection of music.

Using a functional MRI, the researchers scanned the patients to image the regions of the brain that lit up when they listened to 20-second clips of music versus silence. The researchers played eight clips of music from the patient’s music collection, eight clips of the same music played in reverse and eight blocks of silence. The researchers compared the images from each scan.

The researchers found that music activates the brain, causing whole regions to communicate. By listening to the personal soundtrack, the visual network, the salience network, the executive network and the cerebellar and corticocerebellar network pairs all showed significantly higher functional connectivity.

Full story at ScienceDaily

 

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