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Increased Functional Connectivity After Listening to Favored Music in Adults With Alzheimer Dementia

Abstract

Background

Personalized music programs have been proposed as an adjunct therapy for patients with Alzheimer disease related dementia, and multicenter trials have now demonstrated improvements in agitation, anxiety, and behavioral symptoms. Underlying neurophysiological mechanisms for these effects remain unclear.

Methods

We examined 17 individuals with a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer disease related dementia using functional MRI following a training period in a personalized music listening program.

Results

We find that participants listening to preferred music show specific activation of the supplementary motor area, a region that has been associated with memory for familiar music that is typically spared in early Alzheimer disease. We also find widespread increases in functional connectivity in corticocortical and corticocerebellar networks following presentation of preferred musical stimuli, suggesting a transient effect on brain function.

Conclusions

Findings support a mechanism whereby attentional network activation in the brain’s salience network may lead to improvements in brain network synchronization.

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Correspondence to Jeffrey S. Anderson.

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King, J.B., Jones, K.G., Goldberg, E. et al. Increased Functional Connectivity After Listening to Favored Music in Adults With Alzheimer Dementia. J Prev Alzheimers Dis 6, 56–62 (2019). https://doi.org/10.14283/jpad.2018.19

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Key words

  • Personalized music
  • dementia
  • supplementary motor area
  • fMRI
  • functional connectivity