Music and memory research has been carried out for many years, and the results have been promising. Music can be used in memory improvement research to help improve brain health and cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s disease and memory are linked and the earlier a person gets it, the worse their memory will become. It is estimated that in the United States alone there are over 6 million people that have some type of memory loss; this figure rises to ten million in the UK.
Memory is a very important part of a person’s life; a memory that can be lost by an Alzheimer’s patient. Memory is a key component of our everyday lives; it can determine whether we can drive to work or attend school; whether we can hold down a job or be with family.
Memory is not an innate trait, we learn it as we get older. The good news is that it can be strengthened. Learning how to enhance your memory can help to keep you functioning at top performance at work, in sports and everyday life. Research has shown that people who learn new things improve their memory and become more efficient at doing everyday tasks.
Many studies have been carried out into music and memory. The main aim of this research is to carry out a pragmatic cluster randomised control trial of personalised music (music and memory) for dementia sufferers living in dementia care homes. This is a relatively small group to start with and so a large number of participants must be involved to allow sufficient statistical power.
After deciding the number of participants and setting a time limit for the study group to begin, they will recruit the care home residents to take part in the research by sending out brochures and leaflets, or by posting notices in local newspapers. They will then carry out a brief questionnaire to collect information about their personal musical preferences and background. This questionnaire will then be combined with a memory test to assess the effect that music has on memory in these special cases.
The results of the memory test will be compared to those of a control group who are asked to listen to a non-musical background without any other audio. cues. This helps to ensure that the music and memory are indeed improving, rather than make the memory poorer.
The results of the research will be interesting to see. If music and memory are beneficial, then it is hoped that it will help to enhance memory in all of those who take part in the study. If there is no significant improvement in memory then this will be an encouraging result. However, if there is no improvement, then it will give rise to further research and to the need to conduct a further study to explore this possibility further.
Of course, the researchers will also be looking at whether they can match the music and memory to personal experience of hearing the same tune. As mentioned earlier, memory plays such an important part in the day to day life, it is hard to believe that some of us could be able to remember very little of our daily lives but be able to recall a song from a long ago.
If there is no improvement, then the next stage of the research is to see whether there is any reason why some people may have bad results of listening to music. There may be a potential problem in the way they use the CD player or the volume of the songs they are playing. Maybe there is a problem with their listening or concentration or perhaps there are problems with the timing.
If the researchers are not able to identify any problems, then there should be good results. However, it is important that if results are bad or no improvements have been achieved, the people are given reasons why this is the case.
It is also important that the participants are given the option of switching to another type of music or a different track, as many experts agree that it is important to play the right music at the right time. This means that the music that they are being taught to use must not only be pleasant for them, but also at the right time.