Current Research

Current Research

The Neuroscience of Music and the Brain

If music is such an important aspect of people’s lives from the time they are born, why is it that it doesn’t really occur to us, as a society, to provide people with music when they can no longer do what is necessary to provide it for themselves?

Music has power, and we need to remember to keep everyone plugged in!

Petr Janata, PhD
Neuroscientist Guggenheim Fellow, UC Davis, Center for Mind and Brain, Music Has Power™ Award Winner

Research References

Compiled by Nina S. Parikh, PhD, MPH
Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging of Hunter College, CUNY

Therapeutic Effects of Personalized Music

Gerdner, L.A. (2005). Use of individualized music by trained staff and family: translating research into practice. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 31(6), 22-30.

Gerdner, L.A. (2000). Effects of individualized versus classical ‘relaxation’ music on the frequency of agitation in elderly persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. International Psychogeriatrics, 12(1), 49–65.

Gerdner, L.A. (1999). Individualized music intervention protocol. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 25(10), 10-16.

Gerdner, L.A. (1997). An individualized music intervention for agitation. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 3(6), 177-184.

Gerdner, L.A., & Schoenfelder, D.P. (2010). Evidence-based guideline. Individualized music for elders with dementia. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 36(6), 7-15. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20100504-01.

Ragneskog, H., Asplund, K., Kihlgren, M., & Norberg, A. (2001). Individualized music played for agitated patients with dementia: analysis of video-recorded sessions. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 7(3), 146–155.

Sung, H.C., & Chang, A.M. (2005). Use of preferred music to decrease agitated behaviours in older people with dementia: a review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 14(9), 1133-1140.

Sung, H.C., Chang, A.M., & Abbey, J. (2006). The effects of preferred music on agitation of older people with dementia in Taiwan. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 21(10), 999-1000.

Sung, H.C., Chang, A.M., & Lee, W.L. (2010). A preferred music listening intervention to reduce anxiety in older adults with dementia in nursing homes. Journal of Clinical Nursing 19(7-8), 1056–1064. doi: 10.1002/gps.2761

Music Therapy

Brotons, M., Koger, S.M., & Pickett-Cooper, P. (1997). Music and dementias: A review of literature. The Journal of Music Therapy, 34(4), 204–245.

Choi, A.N., Lee, M.S., Cheong, K.J., & Lee, J.S. (2009). Effects of group music intervention on behavioral and psychological symptoms in patients with dementia: a pilot-controlled trial. International Journal of Neuroscience, 119(4), 471–481.

Clair, A.A. (1996). The effect of singing on alert responses in persons with late stage dementia. The Journal of Music Therapy, 33, 234-47.

Clark, M.E., Lipe, A.W., & Bilbrey, M. (1998). Use of music to decrease aggressive behaviours in people with dementia. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 24(7), 10–17.

Cooke, M.L., Moyle, W., Shum, D.H., Harrison, S.D., & Murfield, J.E. (2010). A randomized controlled trial exploring the effect of music on agitated behaviours and anxiety in older people with dementia. Aging & Mental Health, 14(8), 905-16.

Crystal, H., Grober, E., & Masur, D. (1989). Preservation of musical memory in Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 52(12), 1415–1416.

Evans, D. (2002). The effectiveness of music as an intervention for hospital patients: a systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37(1), 8–18.

Gibbons, A.C. (1977). Popular music preferences of elderly people. The Journal of Music Therapy, 14(4), 180–189.

Goodall, D., & Etters, L. (2005). The therapeutic use of music on agitated behavior in those with dementia. Holistic Nursing Practice, 19(6), 258–262.

Götell, E., Brown, S., & Ekman, S.L. (2002). Caregiver singing and background music in dementia care. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24(2), 195–216. doi: 10.1177/ 019394590202400208.

Guétin, S., Portet, F., Picot, M.C., Pommié, C., Messaoudi, M., Djabelkir, L., Olsen, A.L., Cano, M.M., Lecourt, E., & Touchon, J. (2009). Effect of music therapy on anxiety and depression in patients with Alzheimer’s type dementia: randomized, controlled study. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 28(1), 36–46.

Koger, S.M., Chapin, K., & Brotons, M. (1999). Is music therapy an effective intervention for dementia? A meta-analytic review of literature. The Journal of Music Therapy, 36(1), 2-15.

Munro, S., & Mount, B. (1978). Music therapy in palliative care. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 119, 1029–1034.

Snyder, M., & Chlan, L. (1999). Music therapy. Annual Review of Nursing Research, 17, 3–25.

Sung, H.C., Lee, W.L., Chang, S.M., & Smith, G.D. (2011). Exploring nursing staff’s attitudes and use of music for older people with dementia in long term-care facilities. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20 (11-12), 1776-1783.

Svansdottir, H.B., & Snaedal, J. (2006). Music therapy in moderate and severe dementia of Alzheimer’s type: a case-control study. International Psychogeriatric Association, 18(4), 613-21.

Raglio, A., Bellelli, G., Traficante, D., Gianotti, M., Ubezio, M.C., Villani, D., & Trabucchi, M. (2008). Efficacy of music therapy in the treatment of behavioral and psychiatric symptoms of dementia. Alzheimer disease and associated disorders, 22(2), 158–162.

Agitation and Dementia

Burgio, L.D., Butler, F.R., Roth, D.L., Hardin, J.M., Hsu, C.C. & Ung, K. (2000). Agitation in nursing home residents: The role of gender and social context. International Psychogeriatrics, 12(4), 495-511.

Cohen-Mansfield, J. (2003). Agitation definitional and theoretical conceptualization. In D.P. Hay, D.T. Klein, L.K. Hay, G.T. Grossberg, & J.S. Kennedy (Eds.), Agitation in patients with dementia: A practical guide to diagnosis and management. American Psychiatric Publishing, 1-21.

Cohen-Mansfield, J., & Billig, N. (1986). Agitated behaviours in the elderly: a conceptual review. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 34(10), 711-721.

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Marx, M.S., & Rosenthal, A.S. (1989). A description of agitation in a nursing home. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 44(3), M77-M84.

Cohen-Mansfield, J., & Mintzer, J. (2005). Time for change: the role of nonpharmacological interventions in treating behavior problems in nursing home residents with dementia. Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders, 19(1), 37-40.

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Werner, P., & Freeman, L. (1995). Sleep and agitation in agitated nursing home residents: An observational study. Sleep, 18(8), 674-680.

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Werner, P., Watson, V., & Pasis, S. (1995). Agitation among elderly persons at adult day-care centers: The experiences of relatives and staff members. International Psychogeriatrics, 7(3), 447-458.

Forbes, D.A., Peacock, S., & Morgan, D. (2005). Nonpharmacological management of agitated behaviours associated with dementia. Geriatrics & Aging, 8(4), 26–30.

Hall, G.R., & Buckwalter, K.C. (1987). Progressively lowered stress threshold: a conceptual model for care of adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Archives of psychiatric nursing, 1(6), 399-406.

Moretti, R., Torre, P., Antonello, R.M., & Pizzolato, G. (2006) Atypical neuroleptics as a treatment of agitation and anxiety in Alzheimer’s disease: risks or benefits. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 6(5), 705–710.

Sourial, R., McCusker, J., Cole, M., & Abrahamowicz, M. (2001). Agitation in demented patients in an acute care hospital: prevalence, disruptiveness, and staff burden. International Psychogeriatrics, 13(2), 183-197.

Werner, P., Cohen-Mansfield, J., Koroknay, V., & Braun J. (1994). The impact of a restraint reduction program on nursing home residents. Geriatric Nursing, 15(3), 142-146.

Anxiety and Dementia

Ballard, C., Neill, D., O’Brien, J., McKeith, I.G., Ince, P., & Perry, R. (2000). Anxiety, depression and psychosis in vascular dementia: Prevalence and associations. Journal of Affective Disorders, 59(2), 97−106.

Chemerinski, E., Petracca, G., Manes, F., Leiguarda, R., & Starkstein, S.E. (1998). Prevalence and correlates of anxiety in Alzheimer’s disease. Depression and Anxiety, 7(4), 166−170.

Gibbons, L.E., Teri, L., Logsdon, R.G., & McCurry, S.M. (2006). Assessment of anxiety in dementia: An investigation into the association of different methods of measurement. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 19(4), 202−208.

Gibbons, L.E., Teri, L., Logsdon, R., McCurry, S.M., Kukull, W., Bowen, J., McCormick, W., & Larson, E. (2002). Anxiety symptoms as predictors of nursing home placement in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Clinical Geropsychology, 8(4), 335-342. doi: 1079-9362/02/1000-0335/0

McClive-Reed, K.P., & Gellis, Z.D. (2011). Anxiety and Related Symptoms in Older Persons with Dementia: Directions for Practice. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 54(1), 6–28.

Seignourel, P.J., Kunik, M.E., Snow, L., Wilson, N., & Stanley, M. (2008). Anxiety in dementia: A critical review. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(7), 1071–1082.

Teri, L., Ferretti, L.E., Gibbons, L.E., Logsdon, R.G., McCurry, S.M., Kukull, W.A., McCormick, W.C., Bowen, .JD., & Larson, E.B. (1999). Anxiety in Alzheimer’s disease: Prevalence and comorbidity. Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 54(7), M348−M352.

General References for Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s Association, 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. (2011). Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 7(2). Available at: Accessed October 2011.

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

DePaulo, J.R.Jr., & Folstein, M.F. (1978). Psychiatric disturbances in neurological patients: Detection, recognition, and hospital course. American Neurological Association, 4(3), 225–228.

Finkel, S.I. (2001). Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: a current focus of clinicians, researchers, and caregivers. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 62(Suppl 21), 3–6.

Hoe, J., Hancock, G., Livingston, G., & Orrell, M. (2006). Quality of life of people with dementia in residential care homes. British Journal of Psychiatry, 188, 460−464.

Lyketsos, C.G., Lopez, O., Jones, B., Fitzpatrick, A.L., Breitner, J., & DeKosky, S. (2002). Prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia and mild cognitive impairment: results from the cardiovascular health study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288(12), 1475-1483.

Plassman, B.L., Langa, K.M., Fisher, G.G., Heeringa, S.G., Weir, D.R., Ofstedal, M.B., Burke, J.R., Hurd, M.D., Potter, G.G., Rodgers, W.L., Steffens, D.C., Willis, R.J., & Wallace, R.B. (2007). Prevalence of Dementia in the United States: The Aging, Demographics and Memory Study. Neuroepidemiology, 29(1-2), 125–132. doi: 10.1159/000109998

Starr, J.M., & Lonie, J. (2007). Relationship between behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and cognition in Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 24(5), 343–347.