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How music could help people with dementia

Music groups are helping people with dementia Credit: ITV News Anglia

It's long been said that music can evoke precious memories.

It can have a striking effect on someone with Alzheimer's disease but it's still not clear exactly how or why.

Now PhD student Sarah Faber who is based at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge has been awarded 100 thousand pounds by the 'Music Therapy Charity' to help get some answers

"It is mainly approaching this from an aspect of what people with dementia still can do and what they excel at and what they take pleasure in and music is such a powerful way to connect with them."

– Sarah Faber
Research into how music can help dementia patients has started Credit: ITV News Anglia

Sarah will analyse the brain activity of 30 adults playing musical instruments during jam sessions with the use of Electroencephalography or EEG.

The head-set will pick up small electrical impulses on the scalps of participants and translate their brain activity using special computer software.

The research could lead to a significant breakthrough in the treatment of dementia.

The results of the study will be published in 2018.

"When we have this knowledge we can really advocate for its continued use because unfortunately music therapy programmes are suffering a bit, it's one of the first things that gets cut when people say 'we need to tighten the budget up a little bit' and so to have a real scientific basis of research to say - we have investigated this specifically - this is what's happening, this is why it's helpful, and I think that's really valuable."

– Sarah Faber
The headset being used in the research into how music can help dementia patients Credit: ITV News Anglia

The results of the study will published in 2018. Click below to see Liz Summers's report