How Music and Social Engagement Provides Healthy Aging and Prevents Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia
Music is much more than a simple stimulus bringing individual pleasure; it also facilitates interpersonal synchrony. In this chapter, evidence from various disciplines is brought together to provide a new perspective on how music stimulates social engagement and learning and further affects cognitive reserve and the way we age. Music and musical elements affect listeners differently but seem to regulate our body and brain at a much deeper level than we are aware of. When music touches and engages us, a release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine follows. This process involves the brain stem (more precisely the locus coeruleus), and a compensatory effect is observed. By engaging in music from early childhood, preventive mechanisms add to healthy aging and may even slow down the development of dementia symptoms, although it cannot prevent dementia. In addition, through musical interaction, meaningful expression of psychosocial needs may indirectly lead to a reduction of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. For the person with severe dementia, with sensory and cognitive decline, this offers a healthy means of remaining active, autonomous and integrated.
KeywordsMusic Healthy aging Dementia Social engagement Norepinephrine BPSD
- Daulatzai, M. A. (2016). Dysfunctional sensory modalities, locus coeruleus, and basal forebrain: Early determinants that promote neuropathogenesis of cognitive and memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurotoxicity Research, 30(3), 295–337. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12640-016-9643-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Erikson, E. H., & Erikson, J. M. (1998). The life cycle completed (extended version). New York: WW Norton & Company.Google Scholar
- Fauvel, B., Groussard, M., Eustache, F., Desgranges, B., & Platel, H. (2013). Neural implementation of musical expertise and cognitive transfers: Could they be promising in the framework of normal cognitive aging? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 693. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00693.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Goldberg, E. (2005). The wisdom paradox: How your mind can grow stronger as your brain grows older. Library journal. London: The Free Press.Google Scholar
- Hurt, C., Bhattacharyya, S., Burns, A., Camus, V., Liperoti, R., Marriott, A., et al. (2008). Patient and caregiver perspectives of quality of life in dementia: An investigation of the relationship to behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 26(2), 138–146. https://doi.org/10.1159/000149584.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Innes, K. E., Selfe, T. K., Khalsa, D. S., & Kandati, S. (2017). Meditation and music improve memory and cognitive function in adults with subjective cognitive decline: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 56, 899–916. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-160867.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Juslin, P. N., & Sloboda, J. A. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research, applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kitwood, T. (1997). Dementia reconsidered. The person comes first. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Kraus, N., & Slater, J. (2016). Beyond words: How humans communicate through sound. Annual Review of Psychology, 67(1), 83–103. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-122414-033318.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kverno, K. S., Black, B. S., Nolan, M. T., & Rabins, P. V. (2009). Research on treating neuropsychiatric symptoms of advanced dementia with non-pharmacological strategies, 1998–2008: A systematic literature review. International Psychogeriatrics/IPA, 21(5), 825–843. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1041610209990196.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Lanius, R. A., Rabellino, D., Boyd, J. E., Harricharan, S., Frewen, P. A., & McKinnon, M. C. (2017). The innate alarm system in PTSD: Conscious and subconscious processing of threat. Current Opinion in Psychology, 14, 109–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.11.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Porat, S., Goukasian, N., Hwang, K. S., Zanto, T., Do, T., Pierce, J., et al. (2016). Dance experience and associations with cortical gray matter thickness in the aging population. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders Extra, 94704, 508–517. https://doi.org/10.1159/000449130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Porges, S. W., & Lewis, G. F. (2010). The polyvagal hypothesis: Common mechanisms mediating autonomic regulation, vocalizations and listening. Handbook of Mammalian Vocalization: An Integrative Neuroscience Approach, 19, 255–264. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374593-4.00025-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ridder, H. M. (2011). How can singing in music therapy influence social engagement for people with dementia. Insights from the polyvagal theory. In F. A. Baker & S. Uhlig (Eds.), Voicework in music therapy. Research and practice (pp. 130–146). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
- Robertson, I. H. (2013). A noradrenergic theory of cognitive reserve: Implications for Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 34(1), 298–308. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.05.019.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Schäfer, T., Sedlmeier, P., Städtler, C., & Huron, D. (2013). The psychological functions of music listening. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 511, 1–33. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00511.
- Seinfeld, S., Figueroa, H., Ortiz-Gil, J., & Sanchez-Vives, M. V. (2013). Effects of music learning and piano practice on cognitive function, mood and quality of life in older adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 810, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00810.
- Simmons-Stern, N. R., Budson, A. E., & Ally, B. A. (2010). Music as a memory enhancer in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologia, 48(10), 3164–3167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.04.033.Music.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Small, C. (1998). Musicking: The meanings of performing and listening. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.Google Scholar
- Stern, Y. (2009). Cognitive reserve. Neuropsychologia, 47(10), 2015–2028. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.03.004.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- van der Steen, J. T., van Soest-Poortvliet, M. C., van der Wouden, J. C., Bruinsma, M. S., Scholten, R. J. P. M., Vink, A. C. (2017). Music-based therapeutic interventions for people with dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 5. No.: CD003477. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003477.pub3.Google Scholar
- WHO. (2015). World Health Organization. World report on ageing and health. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/186463/1/9789240694811_eng.pdf?ua=1.
- WHO. (2016a). Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016–2020). A framework for coordinated global action by the World Health Organization. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ageing/GSAP-Summary-EN.pdf?ua=1.
- WHO. (2016b). World Health Organization. Fact Sheet. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/.
- Wigram, T., Pedersen, I. N., & Bonde, L. O. (2002). Comprehensive guide to music therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers Ltd..Google Scholar
- Williamson, J. B., Porges, E. C., Lamb, D. G., Porges, S. W. (2015). Maladaptive autonomic regulation in PTSD accelerates physiological aging. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1571, 1–12. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00571.
- Zhang, Y., Cai, J., An, L., Hui, F., Ren, T., Ma, H., et al. (2017). Does music therapy enhance behavioral and cognitive function in elderly dementia patients? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 35, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2016.12.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Zillmer, E. A., & Spiers, M. V. (2001). Principles of neuropsychology. Belmont: Wadsworth. Thomson Learning.Google Scholar