Every day here at Musical Health Technologies, we work to turn music into medicine. Our SingFit PRIME program is designed to bring the health benefits of singing to people ages 65+. We know from our clients in the senior living industry, including leaders in dementia care, that residents who take part in SingFit PRIME singing sessions at least three times a week, generally experience improvement in mood, communication, focus and quality of life.
Now a research team out of George Mason University is backing our findings with a new study which shows that regular singing improves brain function for people with Alzheimer’s disease while also improving mood. The Guardian newspaper in the U.K reports:
“Over a four-month study, the mental performance of patients who took part in regular group singing sessions improved compared with others who just listened.
In the sessions, patients were led through familiar songs from The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio.
The sessions appeared to have the most striking effect on people with moderate to severe dementia, with patients scoring higher on cognitive and drawing tests, and also on a satisfaction-with-life questionnaire at the end of the study.
Jane Flinn, a neuroscientist at George Mason University in Virginia, said care homes that did not hold group singing sessions should consider them, because they were cheap, entertaining and beneficial for patients with Alzheimer’s.
‘Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful. The message is: don’t give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging,’ she said.”
We give huge shout outs to Jane Flinn and her team at George Mason University. Our knowledge about how the brain works is already doubling every year. With a new 100 billion dollar brain mapping initiative funded by the US government getting underway, the next ten years is going to see more and more research that allows us to use music to target a number of diseases and conditions, from traumatic brain injuries to neurological conditions including ADHD and autism.
Stay tuned to this blog and follow us on twitter at @MusicalHealthT to keep up-to-date on all the latest research on music as medicine.
Co-Founder & CEO
Musical Health Technologies
Download our SingFit app with ten free songs from the iTunes Store