Alzheimer’s Patients Have Better Recall When Information Sung to Them

Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine conducted a study to see if Alzheimer’s patients would be better able to recall new information if it was sung to them. Alzheimer’s patients and healthy control subjects were visually presented with the lyrics to 40 songs. Half of the lyrics were presented along with the original recordings. The other half was presented in a spoken format.

The Alzheimer’s patients could more easily recall the lyrics when they were accompanied by the musical recording, according to the researchers. Surprisingly, however, the healthy control group did not experience the same memory benefit of the musical recording. This seems to indicate that the memory encoding and retrieval process of musical information in Alzheimer’s patients is fundamentally different than in healthy seniors, according to the study. The report appears online in the journal Neuropsychologia.

This is not at all surprising to me. I have witnessed countless Alzheimer’s and dementia patients wake from a comatose slumber and sing my entire program along with me. It would be interesting to conduct a study to see whether people’s amount of exposure to music at a younger age has any correlation to better recall. In any case, keep playing your itunes, CDs, cassettes and 8 tracks (yeah I know there are some of you out there!)