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


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.

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Correspondence to Partam Manalai MD.

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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

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Key words

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