By Rick McVicar
The amazing impact of music on Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s patients are widely seen. They can be viewed on several YouTube videos.
Patients in these videos, who cannot remember their own family members, come alive with hands clapping and mouths humming or singing. They appear animated and begin remembering people and events associated with the music.
The videos demonstrate the power of music for brain health recovery in later stages of life.
For instance, an excerpt of Alive Inside shows two patients who were unresponsive in many ways before they were given iPods for music listening. They both move and sway to the music’s rhythm.
One man, Henry, is asked a few questions after he takes off his iPod. His favorite musician is Cab Calloway. His favorite song is, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” which he sings.
“I feel a band of love,” Henry notes with a smile before singing, “Rosalee, won’t you love me.”
His caretaker calls music “the quickening art” because it quickens people who appear to have very little life in them.
Alive Inside is a documentary that was shown at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Other patients listening to music are shown on a video, “The Power of Music on the Brain," produced by ABC Science, June 7, 2016.
Besides showing patients listening to music, the video includes a segment on a brain research laboratory.
Music has a big impact on dementia patients because music involves almost the entire brain. Listening to music affects memory, movement, emotion and social bonding.
Memories aroused by music include other memories associated with how and when the music was previously heard. That is why someone with dementia might begin to remember a loved one.
Music’s effect on motor skills can be useful for Parkinson’s patients. The video shows one man, who could barely walk, miraculously begin to waltz when he hears music.
Together, these videos demonstrate that the sounds of love can also serve as the sounds of life.
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