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Violin Lessons Strike a Chord with Alzheimer's Patients
Posted: Saturday, April 7, 2012 12:45 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: Medscape) - Patients with Alzheimer's disease who had never before played the violin showed the potential not just to learn to play the instrument, but demonstrated improvements in mood and neuropsychiatric function in relation to the learning of the skill, according to William Kang, a medical student at the University of Central Florida.

The research was a small study involving 15 patients, but it represents an intriguing addition to the body of evidence on the potential benefits of music therapy for people with Alzheimer's disease.

Although qualitative results were not statistically significant, Kang said several observations were striking. For one thing, the results indicated that patients were capable of learning the violin. "Even someone with the [MMSE] score of less than 15 was able to it learn it to a certain extent."

Second, those learning the violin demonstrated improved abilities in relation to everyday tasks such as remembering names and faces. In the most dramatic example, one patient recalled the name of a nurse she'd long forgotten.

Third, the patients who received violin lessons showed observable improvements in mood, memory, and cognition. "The nurses, families, physicians, and I observed improvements in mood and energy and decreases in agitation," Kang said.

"Patients who had Sundowners Syndrome and were out of control, for instance, were able to calm down and improve cognitively after just 8 weeks, which is a relatively short time."

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