*Cue Beethoven’s 7th symphony*
For years, people have been researching the effects of music on the human brain. When listening to some of our favorite songs, different parts of our brain (frontal, parietal, and temporal lobe) are activated to process sounds, rhythms, melodies, etc. On top of that, even more are affected when somebody is actually creating music.
There is a reason why you hear about so many soon-to-be parents blasting Mozart and Liszt into pregnant bellies. There are a number of theories suggesting that music does improve the development of the brain, helping your children develop a higher level of intelligence.
It’s amazing and still so mysterious when you think about what music can really do for you. The effects that it has on your intelligence, creativity, and emotions are astounding – but what scientists are finding now is that it may also be a huge trigger for improving and recovering memories.
So much so, in fact that music may just be the cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Patients Experience Improved Memory Retrieval With Music
The biggest characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease is that the patients suffer from severe memory loss, which worsens over time. Many of them lose touch with their own senses of identity, also forgetting important family members and events that took place in their lives. It’s one of the most scary and heartbreaking diseases to see and experience, and it currently affects over 5 million Americans.
So naturally, people have been trying to find a cure.
Based on the knowledge that music activates so many parts of your brain, researchers were curious to see if it could have some effect on memory loss. In one resulting study, a group of Alzheimer’s patients were asked to sit down in a room with music playing, and were instructed to tell stories about their lives. Anything from experiences at work, home, and significant life events.
The stories that the patients told were more grammatically complex, contained more meaningful words (to suggest that they have an emotional connection to the story), and were generally more detailed in terms of content. This really caught scientists by surprise, because all of those qualities were supposed to be deficient in Alzheimer’s patients.
One of the biggest theories behind these results is that music activates different parts of your memory system at once, including the ones that encode emotional events – the ones that are generally more vivid than others. Think about it, do you have a better recollection of events that took place on your birthday, or some random day of the week? The emotional processes make a difference.
Why are these findings important?
Well, first things first, the improved memory retrieval and communication suggest that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be cured, or at least treated. Compare these findings to the effects of medicinal treatment pushed by pharmaceutical companies these days.
Drugs like Cognex, Exelon, and Nivalin, that are normally used to treat Alzheimer’s disease come with a number of potential adverse effects. Some patients experience digestive issues, anxiety, fatigue, weight loss, and seizures that can make the drug more dangerous than helpful.
The benefit of musical treatment is that you don’t have to worry about unforeseen physiological effects on your body. Your brain on music is a lot more healthy than your brain on drugs. Keep the junk out of your body, and support the alternative that may just change the world forever.