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Effects of music instrument lessons on brain plasticity, mood, and quality of life in Alzheimer patients

Project: Research


Music has powerful effects on memory in patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, although there is anecdotal evidence for beneficial effects of active music interventions in patients with AD, there is lack of high-quality research investigating this issue, and the cognitive, emotional, and social factors that contribute to potentially beneficial effects of music making in AD patients are largely unknown. In this research project, a group of AD patients who have learned a musical instrument during childhood and adolescence, but did not continue playing during their professional career, will undergo twelve months of instrumental music lessons specifically tailored for AD patients. Brain scanning (magnetic resonance imaging) will be used to determine the effects of music making on brain age, changes of brain morphology, and a potential slowdown of brain degeneration. We will also determine how these effects are driven by cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of the music intervention to further develop effective music therapy for AD patients. In addition, changes in the quality of life of patients and family members / family caregivers will be assessed. In cooperation with the Bergen municipality, and a strong network of national and international partners, the neurocognitive music therapy for AD patients will be put into action, involving training of music therapists, and communication of results to patients, patient groups, therapists, and the general public.
Effective start/end date1/04/1731/03/21