(Last Updated on : 19-03-2014)
The idea of applying music therapy to cure Alzheimer's patients is comparatively recent. The research studies reveal that music therapy has a positive effect on emotional matters and mood and memory. However, generalization of data is quite difficult, as it needs extensive study and numerous positive results. Based on the application of the rehabilitative technique on Alzheimer's patients and on the recent researches on relationship of music with neuroanatomy, a quest is on process to identify the therapeutic effect of music on Alzheimer's patients.
A music therapy program on twenty male Alzheimer's patients revealed that it raises melatonin levels, bring improvement in general behavior and solve the sleep problem.
In a particular study, the Alzheimer's patients underwent music therapy for 30-40 minutes, 5 days a week for one month. Then their blood samples were taken before the first session, at the end of the four weeks of therapy, and 6 weeks after the study's conclusion. The doctors and the researchers checked the levels of melatonin, epinephrin,norepinephrine, prolactin and serotonin. These are brain chemicals which affect mental state.
The research revealed that the levels of melatonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine in blood had risen significantly at the end of the fourth week therapy program. Moreover, melatonin levels remained higher after six weeks i.e. at the end of the program. But by that time the epinephrine and norepinephrine levels had returned to their original readings. Serotonin and prolactin were not affected by music therapy. In addition to the hormonal changes, the Alzheimer patients who participated in the study also became more active and cooperative and slept better.
The doctors and the music therapists mention that the relaxation with music that calms one down is very benefecial indeed. To prompote a sense of calmness and well being, one can listen to the favorite music while eating, before sleeping and at the time of relaxation. Music therapy is safer for the Alzheimers or any other patients than the psychotropic medicines. Like meditation and yoga, it can help to maintain the hormonal and emotional balance, even during the period of stress and disease. Music theraoy helps the Alzheimer's thus in a number of way. Music therapy helps in recalling memory while increasing the positive mood. In stress reduction and in decreasing the agitation level music therapy has an immense value.
There are many hindrances like cultural and methodological problems that prevent to demonstrate the efficacy of Music therapy on Alzheimer's despite the consistent effect of music on personal and social behavior. The neurophysiological and neurochemical effects of music therapy have less information and this results in the application of the music therapy based on assumption only. The supposed positive effect of music therapy on Alzheimer's patients is enough to justify its application. The methodological problem is related to the evaluation of outcomes. There are only little or no standardized instruments that can measure and evaluate the results. The studies that investigate the effect of music therapy were characterized by less specific indicator like cognition, behavior etc. The aim of the study on Music therapy in Alzheimer's is to organize the present knowledge with a systematic approach so that future research results can be applied more promptly.