Music could be the new answer for neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study in West Virginia University found out that listening to a music program and simple meditation can help reverse early memory loss. It is also proven to improve mood, sleep and quality of life.
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative condition which is more common in elder adults. Its onset is normally at 65 years old but 4 to 5 percent of the cases start at earlier age. Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s include short-term memory loss or difficulty in remembering recent events.
In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease on Wednesday, Jan. 18, researchers studied 60 adults diagnosed with subjective cognitive decline in a randomized controlled trial. Subjective cognitive decline is a condition in which a person experiences worsening of thinking abilities such as memory, which sometimes lead to Alzheimer’s or dementia. The participants were assigned to two groups. The first had to listen to music while the other had to do beginner meditation called Kirtan Kriya, 12 minutes a day for a period of 12 weeks.
The participants were subjected to Trail-making Test and Digit-Symbol Substitution Test on the 3-month and 6-month markers. Results revealed that both meditation and listening to music can help improve memory function in just three months, which is further maintained and increased after 6 months. The participants got an average score of 71 percent in the tests after three months in the program. Their scores increased to a remarkable 93 percent average after six months.
The researchers highlighted that the participants showed improvements in cognitive functioning such as subjective memory function, processing speed, attention and executive function, according to Science Daily. They added that both meditation and music improved the participants’ well-being and quality of life including mood and sleep cycle. It can also help reverse perceived memory loss in older adults which is a preclinical symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.