Jan 22, 2011

The Neuroscience of Music

Music is soothing. There is a growing body of evidence that music can arouse distant memories in persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease...

The Neuroscience of Music

By Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's patients do react positively to music.

Last year while watching TREME on HBO, out of the clear blue sky Dotty starting singing the words to a song that was written in 1932 -- Not a Ghost of A Chance -- An Alzheimer's Disease Out of the Box Moment.

I forgot to mention last night, while I was rolling Dotty to the toilet for her first poop in four days, I was singing the Poop song. I had not sung the poop song to her in a very long time. Is this why she pooped? Maybe it helped.

We have other articles on music. Here are a few samples:

Music Activates Brain in Alzheimer’s Patients

The Power of Music in Alzheimer’s Disease

Music Boosts Memory in Alzheimer’s, Is this Why the Poop Song Works

How to Conduct Music Activities With People Who Have Alzheimer's

Recently, I read an article about the neuroscience of music. Some of you might find this of interest.

When listening to our favorite songs, our body betrays all the symptoms of emotional arousal. The pupils in our eyes dilate, our pulse and blood pressure rise, the electrical conductance of our skin is lowered, and the cerebellum, a brain region associated with bodily movement, becomes strangely active. Blood is even re-directed to the muscles in our legs. (Some speculate that this is why we begin tapping our feet.) In other words, sound stirs us at our biological roots.

Because the scientists were combining methodologies (PET and fMRI) they were able to obtain an impressively precise portrait of music in the brain. The first thing they discovered (using ligand-based PET) is that music triggers the release of dopamine in both the dorsal and ventral striatum. This isn’t particularly surprising: these regions have long been associated with the response to pleasurable stimuli.

If you would like to read an interesting article about this research go here --The Neuroscience of Music

I you would like to read more about the science go here -- Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music

Topics Pages - Learn More About Alzheimer's and Dementia

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room