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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Music and the Mind: A Different Kind of Dementia Therapy (part 1)

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Here are more interesting dementia brain boosting activities

A Place for Mom

Hanser says that when we actively make music, as opposed to passively listening to it, we activate another part of the brain that controls balance and movement—the cerebellum—in addition to cognitive and limbic areas. “Music therapists may begin with passive listening but soon we engage the person so there’s more parts of the body involved,” she says.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s now affects more than 5.3 million Americans. For those who suffer from its progression, a number that doubles every fives years among seniors according to The National Institute on Aging, music can not only be a pleasant link to the past, but a nourishing connection to the present.
“Family members who every day see losses and degeneration first hand need some kind of hope, need to see there are ways to access the human being they loved,” says Hanser. “For a caregiver or family member to dance or sing with that person brings them much more a sense that there is [someone] within the shell the disease has caused.”
A Cross-Cultural Language
I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.
—Billy Joel
Some say math is the language of the universe, but on earth it is music. Bone flutes, jaw harps, and percussive instruments were already being used more than 30,000 years ago to express qualities of human experience. Music, like food, is central to virtually every culture on earth, and in fact might be considered a type of food for the brain. Ancient Greeks believed music’s mathematic progressions and its harmonic qualities, ratios, and scales made for a better mind, so its study was required as part of a good education.
The modern method of using music to heal, called “music therapy,” was born after World War II when physicians and nurses in veterans hospitals noticed their patients improved after listening to music. Today, more than seventy music therapy programs are accredited in the United States by the American Music Therapy Association, which defines music therapy as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship…” Whereas words are the psychotherapist’s medium, music is the medium of the music therapist, who is typically a trained musician.
“[Music therapy] is not going to change the course of the disease,” cautions Hanser, “but it will allow read more of Music and the Mind: A Different Kind of Dementia Therapy, tomorrow

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