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Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00132

Music intervention approaches for Alzheimer’s disease: a review of the literature

  • 1Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, Canada

Music interventions have been widely adopted as a potential non-pharmacological therapy for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to treat cognitive and/or behavioural symptoms of the disease. In spite of the prevalence of such therapies, evidence for their effectiveness report mixed results in the literature. The purpose of this narrative review is to investigate the effectiveness of various intervention strategies (music therapy versus music listening techniques) and music type used in the intervention (individualized versus non-individualized music) on cognitive and behavioural outcomes for persons with AD. Databases were searched for studies using either active music therapy or music listening techniques over the last ten years. These studies were in English, included persons with AD dementia, and whose protocol gathered pre- and post-intervention outcome measures. We initially identified 206 papers which were then reduced to 167 after removing duplicates. Further review yielded 13 papers which were extensively reviewed, resulting in a final sample of six papers. Our analysis of these papers suggested that, regardless of the music intervention approach, individualized music regimens provided the best outcomes for the patient. Furthermore, music listening may act as a relaxation technique and therefore provide a long-term impact for the patient, while active music therapy may acts to engage participants through social interaction and provide acute benefits. Our findings suggest that music techniques can be utilized in various ways to improve behavior and cognition.

Keywords: Music, Cognition, MBI, Alzhcimer's disease, Individualized treatment, intervention, therapy

Received: 31 Oct 2018; Accepted: 06 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Gerard Francisco, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, United States

Reviewed by:

Psyche Loui, Northeastern University, United States
Alfredo Raglio, IRCCS Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri (ICS Maugeri), Italy  

Copyright: © 2019 Fischer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Corinne E. Fischer, Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, M5B 1W8, Ontario, Canada,