Music Has the Power to Cure Alzheimer Disease, Researchers Explain

"It can awake stuff inside of us like nothing else can," says "Alive Inside" documentary author.

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Music has been associated with a vast array of superpowers, and it seems as if curing dementia can easily be added to the list.

Rock It Out Blog recently sat down with "Alive Inside" documentary authors Michael Rossato-Bennett and Dan Cohen, who shared vivid experiences from their filming journeys and researches.

Music therapy is generally considered as one of the most common AD treatments, increasing social interaction of the patient and decreasing wandering. The key to its effectiveness is believed to be the fact that music reduces agitation by altering the patient's perception of noise.

"Dan brought in the first person in nursing home, this man named henry, who was just literally [slouched] like this, and had been like that for 10 years," Michael kicked off. "And then we brought in music, put it on, and he literally came alive.

"His soul bursted out. Music has the power to awake stuff inside of us like nothing else can, a part of our being that we don't actually have vocabulary for - the serious part of our being that isn't our personality, that isn't our memory, it goes way back to our pre-history," the director continued.

"A human baby will respond to rhythm, an orangutan will not. Music is something we created and made part of our minds. And it's still there in people who have dementia, who people think have nothing to give. Deep down inside of them there's tremendous life waiting to be awaken," he concluded.

As for the documentary itself, the movie won a vast array of awards, one of them being the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Festival. Check out the video below for more or visit the film's official website.

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14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It doesn't sound like it's a "cure", but it definitely helps which is awesome.
    I see no science in this article. And 'documentary authors' and 'researchers' are two different things. Bad UG.
    Please for god's sake have a person with scientific background proofread such articles. This is NOT a CURE. They are not healed, there is NO CURE for Alzheimers. You can treat it, and prolong the time a patient is mentally fit, but sadly that's most you can do.
    No, it doesn't. Wish it were otherwise but it's not.
    Right, cause you're a doctor. Skepticism is healthy, but you're just flat out making assumptions based on what? You're doctorate in neuroscience? What if sound waves which repeat in patterns can help boost neuron activity in the brain which would decrease memory loss? Do you know? No. You don't. Everyone is so damn sure of themselves here, like we know something someone who did enough research to make a documentary doesn't. SMH
    I'm not a doctor, but I'm a post-grad scientist (working in the health sector) and I don't see any science in this article or the source for this article. Once you give me a proper theory on how and why music helps with Alzheimer's, I'll accept it as fact as any scientist will. Until then it's unproven and thus no better than hearsay.
    You don't need to be a doctor to see just how little science is actually in this article. Do quotes like "His soul bursted out", or "the serious part of our being that isn't our personality, that isn't our memory, it goes way back to our pre-history" or "A human baby will respond to rhythm, an orangutan will not. Music is something we created and made part of our minds" not scream 'unscientific' to you? A guy making a documentary is not research. It's just a collection of anecdotes about behavioural changes in response to music. Using music to improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients isn't a bad thing. Just claiming that it can reverse neuronal death (which is why Alzheimer's patients suffer from memory loss) caused by at least four different factors (amyloid and tau build up, acetylcholine deficit, glutamate receptor over activity) is ridiculous, and leads to misinformed people trying to oppose the development of actual therapeutics.
    I read this, and I remember my great grandmother who died in 2007 from dementia. She was an absolutely-brilliant mandolin-player. I wonder if she were to have kept playing later in her life if she would have lived longer.
    My mother listens to radio every goddamn day and she can't remember jackshit and she isn't even that old. Breaks my heart.