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Alzheimer's Sonata
Music may be good medicine for those with Alzheimer's disease, according to a small study from Miami.

Music therapists played live music and sang songs to men with Alzheimer's for 30 to 40 minutes, five mornings a week. After four weeks, the men were more relaxed, participated more actively in each session, and interacted better with nurses and therapists.

Blood tests revealed that by the end of the study the men who listened to music and song had higher levels of melatonin, a natural brain hormone that helps foster a good night's sleep. Benefits were still evident six weeks later. (Alternative Therapies,11/99)

The study bolsters other findings on the healing powers of music for other ailments as well. At Colorado State University, a half-hour of music each day for three weeks helped stroke patients or those with Parkinson's disease walk better, even months after music therapy. In a Scottish study of 40 stroke patients, 12 weeks of music therapy made patients less depressed and anxious and more motivated to cooperate and interact.

Listening to music is also known to reduce stress, an excess of which can contribute to ill health. So whether it's classical, jazz, pop, or folk songs, tune in to your favorite songs.

Date Published: 08/10/2000
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