Rapid improvement of depressive symptoms and cognition in an elderly patient with a single session of piano playing: a clinical treatment report

Abstract

Background and aims: Music has been used as a non-pharmacological modality in the treatment of different conditions since ancient times. It has received attention in modern medicine in recent decades, particularly in geriatric population. The effects of music on mood and cognition are well documented. The aim of the current case report is to highlight the benefits of musical activities in the geriatric population. Methods: We report a naturalistic treatment outcome in an elderly patient on a geriatric psychiatric unit related to a single session of piano playing. Results: A rapid and sustained improvement in mood and cognition of an elderly patient was observed after a single session of playing piano. Notwithstanding the limitations of a single subject, uncontrolled case study, the effect was dramatic. Conclusion: Our findings support previous claims regarding music therapy including effects of a single session musicbased therapeutic interventions, and we conclude that music therapy for geriatric patients with mood and cognitive deficits is worth further systematic investigation.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Kiloh LG. Pseudo-dementia. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1961; 37: 336–51.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Arie T. Pseudodementia. BMJ (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286: 1301–2.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Kiloh LG. Depressive illness masquerading as dementia in the elderly. Med J Aust 1981; 2: 550–3.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    McAllister TW. Overview: pseudodementia. Am J Psychiatry 1983; 140: 528–33.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Koelsch S, Siebel WA. Towards a neural basis of music perception. Trends Cogn Sci 2005; 9: 578–84. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Schellenberg EG. Music and cognitive abilities. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 2005; 14: 317–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Koelsch S, Kasper E, Sammler D, Schulze K, Gunter T, Friederici AD. Music, language and meaning: brain signatures of semantic processing. Nat Neurosci 2004; 7: 302–7. Epub 2004 Feb 22.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Silverman MJ. The influence of music on the symptoms of psychosis: a meta-analysis. J Music Ther 2003; 40: 27–40.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Van de Winckel A, Feys H, De Weerdt W, Dom R. Cognitive and behavioural effects of music-based exercises in patients with dementia. Clin Rehabil 2004; 18: 253–60.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Hanser SB, Thompson LW. Effects of a music therapy strategy on depressed older adults. J Gerontol 1994; 49: P265–9.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Chutka DS, Takahashi PY, Hoel RW. Inappropriate medications for elderly patients. Mayo Clin Proc 2004; 79: 122–39.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Gold C, Solli HP, Kruger V, Lie SA. Dose-response relationship in music therapy for people with serious mental disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev 2009; 29: 193–207. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Shultis C. Music therapy for inpatient psychiatric care in the 1990s. Psychiatric Times 1999; 16.

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Krout RE. The effects of single-session music therapy interventions on the observed and self-reported levels of pain control, physical comfort, and relaxation of hospice patients. Am J Hosp Palliat Care 2001; 18: 383–90.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Cassileth BR, Vickers AJ, Magill LA. Music therapy for mood disturbance during hospitalization for autologous stem cell transplantation: a randomized controlled trial. Cancer 2003; 98: 2723–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Nierenberg AA, Farabaugh AH, Alpert JE et al. Timing of onset of antidepressant response with fluoxetine treatment. Am J Psychiatry 2000; 157: 1423–8.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Pollack B. Clinical findings in the use of Tofranil in depressive and other psychiatric states. 1959. Am J Psychiatry 1994; 151: 273–6.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Virk G, Reeves G, Rosenthal NE, Sher L, Postolache TT. Short exposure to light treatment improves depression scores in patients with seasonal affective disorder: A brief report. Int J Disabil Hum Dev 2009; 8: 283–6.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Nijjar G, Reeves G, Manalai P, Postolache T. Depression scores after one hour of bright light versus dim red light in patients with seasonal affective disorder. In: Crystal JH (Ed) Society of Biological Psychiatry, May 20-22, 2010. New Orleans: SOBP.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Partam Manalai MD.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Manalai, G., Manalai, P., Dutta, R. et al. Rapid improvement of depressive symptoms and cognition in an elderly patient with a single session of piano playing: a clinical treatment report. Aging Clin Exp Res 24, 278–280 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03325258

Download citation

Key words

  • Music therapy
  • pseudo-dementia
  • music-based therapeutic intervention