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Study finds music therapy can reduce dementia symptoms

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Music therapy can reduce the symptoms of dementia, according to a study done in Cambridge.

Academics at Anglia Ruskin University trialled one on one music therapy on groups of people with dementia, over a period of five months.

They found some improvements in their symptoms.

Our study shows the sustained benefits of a music therapy programme on the symptoms of dementia, on the occupational disruptiveness of care home residents, and on levels of general wellbeing. These benefits continued even once the programme had ended.

By involving both care home residents and their carers, we explored how music therapy might bring changes to care giving. Through watching videos of the sessions, staff saw how residents' symptoms were reduced and how their remaining cognitive functions were activated. As a result, carers were motivated to use these ideas in symptom management.

Significantly, our findings show how staff education and training may be the most effective method in managing symptoms of dementia, and how music therapists can play a valuable role in this.

– Co-author Helen Odell-Miller, Professor of Music Therapy at Anglia Ruskin University

According to the Alzheimer's Society, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and 80 per cent of people in care homes have some form of memory problems or dementia.