World Alzheimer’s Day is commemorated all over the world today. WHO estimates that one in four women and one in five men over 85 suffer from this disease in Mexico, while the total number of patients in the country exceeds 800,000 people.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are several therapies that can delay the progression of some symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients. However, alternative and non-pharmacological therapies have gained attention from the medical community, as it has been shown that therapies that include music, animals and physiotherapy have an effect on brain functions such as memory, calculation, perception, attention and language.
Some researchers suggest that listening to music can benefit people with Alzheimer’s. According to a report from Mayo Clinic, the most important hospital in the US, “musical memories are often preserved despite the disease because the areas of the brain related to musical memory are not damaged.” Also, the Mayo Clinic notes that listening to music can help relieve stress, anxiety and depression caused by the disease.
The science behind the music, according to Neuro Rhythm, shows that music is processed in all areas of the brain and it has the ability to stimulate areas of the brain that might not be possible through other activities. This way, Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) “can stimulate cognitive, speech/language and sensorimotor functions of individuals with neurological diseases or disorders.” Moreover, these treatment techniques are based on neuroscience models and scientific studies of the effect of music on the brain and its behavior.
Advances and discoveries of the effect of music are not limited to people with neurological diseases and disorders, but can also help healthy people. According to the American Music Therapy Association, the future of music-based therapies is promising, as they have shown positive effects in the treatment of people with neurological diseases and disorders.