- Research suggests that music may be of benefit to older adults with cognitive impairment.
- Existing studies encompass both listening to and active participation in music, which is the focus of a new study from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), PA.
- The new study is a meta-analysis of earlier research.
Previous research has suggested that music in general may be able to improve the quality of life of older adults with dementia.
A new study from Pitt seeks to identify the benefits of active participation in music versus passive participation, that is, listening to music. It is a meta-analysis of 21 previous studies involving 1,472 individuals.
The new study finds making music delivers a small but significant positive effect in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia.
The researchers also found that music improved quality of life and mood for the same people.
The study describes MCI as “a preclinical state between normal cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease” that affects 15% of older adults who do not have Alzheimer’s. Of these people, however, 38% will eventually develop it.
The study’s lead author, Jennie L. Dorris of Pitt, said:
“We are excited to see these results because participating in music, like singing in a choir or playing in a drum circle, is a safe, engaging activity that our research demonstrates can support cognition at a critical time for older adults facing cognitive decline.”
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