Mozart Improves Spatio-Temporal Perfomance with Alzheimer’s

From a study by Johnson JK, Cotman CW, Tasaki CS, and Shaw GL:

Several recent studies have investigated the effectiveness of various behavioral interventions on the cognitive performance of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Simulations of Shaw’s structured model of the cortex led to the predictions that music might enhance spatial-temporal reasoning. A subsequent behavioral study in college students documented an improvement in scores on a spatial-temporal task after listening to a Mozart piano sonata. In this study, we investigated the enhancement of scores on a spatial-temporal task after a Mozart listening condition in a set of twins who are discordant for AD. After listening to an excerpt from a Mozart piano sonata, the AD twin showed considerable improvement on the spatial-temporal task when compared with pretest scores [emphasis added]. Furthermore, no enhancement of scores was seen following either of the control conditions (i.e., silence or 1930s popular tunes). This finding suggests that music may be used as a tool to investigate functional plasticity in Alzheimer’s disease and to better understand the underlying pathophysiology.

Even when we think all hope is lost, the brain proves its remarkable plasticity and ability to remake itself. In this study a person with Alzheimer’s Disease shows considerable improvement simply after listening to a Mozart piano sonata. It’s already been shown that there is improvement even in the brains of healthy people, but to find that a brain ravaged by disease can improve is inspiring, uplifting, and gives us hope that even at the end of our lives, our brain function can be improved simply by selecting the right kinds of music. This means that we can keep our cognitive functioning much longer than previously thought, because of our remarkable neuroplasticity.

So whether you’re young or old, or somewhere in between, don’t forget that changing your music will change your life!

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