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Music therapy for older patients

28th November 2005

Music therapy can help to ease the isolation of dementia and prevent old people from completely losing touch with their loved ones, suggests new research.

Test studies using musical therapy to reach older patients suffering from dementia have found an improvement in the behaviour and mood of those taking part in the trials.

Carried out in Japan, the research focussed on the potential benefits of one-hour treatments every week and found that after around 20 hours, the patients began to show an improvement.

Evidence from the results of a Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) device supported these findings, showing that activity in the frontal lobe and occipital lobe had increased over the course of the treatment.

"There are various treatments for aged patients," explained Tatsuhiko Akaboshi, chairman of the Tokyo Music Volunteer Association.

"Singing of songs activates brain cells and makes blood flow smooth. A loud voice is also good for respiratory organs."

Mr Akaboshi believes that this kind of treatment helps older people to remember songs from their childhood and reduce the impact of dementia, although further research is still to be carried out in other countries.