A University of Toronto and Unity Health Toronto study found that listening to songs with special meaning for the listener improves brain function in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, CNN reported.
Senior author Michael Thaut, director of U of T’s Music and Health Science Research Collaboratory and a professor in the Faculty of Music and Temerty Faculty of Medicine, told the U.S. news outlet that “listening to music with special meaning stimulated neural pathways in the brain that helped them maintain higher levels of functioning.”
“Whether you’re a lifelong musician or have never even played an instrument, music is an access key to your memory, your pre-frontal cortex,” said Thaut in a statement to CNN. “It’s simple — keep listening to the music that you’ve loved all your life. Your all-time favourite songs, those pieces that are especially meaningful to you – make that your brain gym.”
The research – published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in November 2021 – could lead to promising music therapies for patients with early Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment.