Monday, November 16, 2009

Ipod Music Stimulates Alzheimers and Stroke Patients


Pretty cool finding. Music stimulates the memories and activities of stroke and Alzheimer's patients. From the WSJ:

"Listening to rap and reggae on a borrowed iPod every day has helped Everett Dixon, a 28-year-old stroke victim at Beth Abraham Health Services in Bronx, N.Y., learn to walk and use his hands again...Ann Povodator, an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient in Boynton Beach, Fla., listens to her beloved opera and Yiddish songs every day on an iPod with her home health aide or her daughter when she comes to visit. "We listen for at least a half-hour, and we talk afterwards," says her daughter, Marilyn Povodator. "It seems to touch something deep within her."

Dr. Concetta Tomaino, director of the non-profit organization Institute for Music and Neurologic Function found that "45 patients with mid- to late-stage dementia had one hour of personalized music therapy, three times a week, for 10 months, and improved their scores on a cognitive-function test by 50% on average. One patient in the study recognized his wife for the first time in months."

At right, researchers found that autobiographical music (red) triggered the medial prefrontal cortex, an area relatively spared in Alzheimer's disease. This also jives pretty well with the observation that Alzheimer patients tend to show a 'temporal gradient' for memories (better memory for remote rather than recent events), and the fact that severely aphasic stroke patients may be able to sing though spoken output is virtually nil.

How many people might this help?

Music-Evoked Autobiographical Memories
Unlocking memories

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