Long-term effects of music therapy on elderly with moderate/severe dementia.

Juntendo University School of Medicine.
Journal of music therapy (Impact Factor: 0.8). 12/2006; 43(4):317-33. DOI: 10.1093/jmt/43.4.317
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Over a period of 2 years we assessed the long-term effects of group music therapy carried out once weekly on the elderly (mean age: 83 years) suffering from moderate or severe dementia by observing changes in the cortisol level in saliva and in blood pressure and by an intelligence assessment. Systolic blood pressure determined 1 and 2 years after the start of therapy increased significantly in the nonmusic therapy group compared with that in music therapy group (p < .05). Systolic blood pressure increases with aging; the systolic blood pressure was significantly lower in participants who received music therapy. No significant differences in cortisol level in saliva or intelligence assessment score were observed, but the music therapy group maintained their physical and mental states during the 2-year period better than the nonmusic therapy group. This result indicates the lasting effect of once-a-week continuous music therapy. Even the elderly with moderate or severe dementia were able to participate in the group music therapy, and results suggest that enjoying singing and playing musical instruments in a concert was effective in preventing cardiac and cerebral diseases.

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