Therapy for People with Alzheimerís or Parkinsonís Disease
may benefit the four million Americans suffering from Alzheimerís
and could potentially help many of the one million Americans with
Parkinsonís disease, according to several studies that have looked
at music therapyís effect on memory and other mental activities.
One study, conducted at the University of California, Irvine,
found that people with Alzheimerís who listened to a Mozart sonata
greatly improved their scores on memory tests. Some researchers
have thought that music had a relaxing effect on those with Alzheimerís
disease. A 1999 study from the University of Miami School of Medicine
found that Alzheimer patients who listened to 30 to 40 minutes
of music five times a week had increased levels of melatonin in
Music therapists are trained health professionals who use breathing
exercises, dancing, singing and instrument playing to help people
do everything, from decreasing pain and stress during labor and
surgery to improving mental function and movement.
A study conducted by Colorado State Universityís Center for Research
in NeuroRehabilitation and the University of Michiganís Center
for Human Motor Research found that people with Parkinsonís who
listened to music while walking could go faster, take bigger steps
and showed better overall balance and control of movement than
those walking without music. The scientists speculate that the
music helped to distract patients from the pain of doing these
Music can elevate mood, too, and thereby cut the depression often
experienced by people with Parkinsonís.
Based on promising findings, some researches have proposed that
music therapy, in combination with physical therapy, should be
the rule rather than the exception when treating those with Parkinsonís.
For more information on music therapy visit the American Music
Therapy Association at www.musictherapy.org,
the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function at Beth Abraham
Family of Health Services at www.bethabe.org
and the Alzheimerís Association at www.alz.org/hc/qcare/music/htm.
with permission from Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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