How can we assess the best music therapy for someone with Alzheimer disease? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Music helps people with Alzheimer disease with some of the manifestations of the condition such as memory difficulties or anxiety. Now a Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine study led by Alex Pantelyat aims to identify exact characteristics of music individually selected by patients that helps.

Pantelyat: We take the very top song that they identify and scramble it beyond recognition. And we’re playing a snippet of the actual song, that’s recognizable, then we’re playing the same exact recording for the same exact duration scrambled beyond recognition. Third task we are playing another song that the patients have not identified. We’re using Spotify to identify a well matched song that nevertheless doesn’t have that emotional connection for the patient. We are seeing what the differences are in network activation.  :30

Pantelyat says knowing which parts of the brain are activated in response to music will enable clinicians to develop the best individualized intervention for each person. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.