Fa­mil­iar mu­sic may give cog­ni­tive boost

StarMetro Toronto - - DAILY LIFE - Sh­eryl Ubelacker

It’s long been known that Alzheimer’s pa­tients of­ten re­tain mu­si­cal mem­o­ries, even when re­call of names, faces and places has been lost as the dis­ease re­lent­lessly de­stroys key ar­eas of the brain. Now Canadian re­searchers be­lieve they know why, thanks to the power of MRI brain scan­ning.

Toronto sci­en­tists en­rolled 20 peo­ple with early-stage Alzheimer’s or mild cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment in a study to dis­cern what was oc­cur­ring in their brains while they lis­tened to fa­mil­iar mu­sic and a com­po­si­tion they had never heard be­fore while hav­ing MRI scans. When sub­jects lis­tened to the pre­vi­ously un­known com­po­si­tion, it lit up a re­gion of the brain known as the tem­po­ral lobe, “which is what we would have pre­dicted be­cause that part of the brain gets ac­ti­vated when you lis­ten to any­thing,” said prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor Dr. Corinne Fis­cher, di­rec­tor of the mem­ory dis­or­ders clinic at St. Michael’s Hos­pi­tal.

But when par­tic­i­pants lis­tened to fa­mil­iar mu­sic there was a much more ex­ten­sive pat­tern of ac­ti­va­tion of sev­eral ar­eas of the brain, in­clud­ing those in­volved with emo­tion and the pro­cess­ing of language, move­ment and mem­ory.

“There’s al­ways been this ques­tion of why mu­sic and the abil­ity to ap­pre­ci­ate mu­sic is pre­served, even in the lat­est stages of Alzheimer’s dis­ease,” said Fis­cher.

The re­searchers hope the find­ings of­fer the ba­sis for a tar­geted form of mu­sic ther­apy, with a goal of po­ten­tially slow­ing the pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.