The main focus of this research is to use electroencephalography (EEG) data to understand if listening to and playing music will have a positive impact on the emotions, social connectedness, and interrelatedness of people with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and their caregivers.
Brain imaging research suggests that listening to and imagining music can lead to decreases in depression, pain perception, and an increased ability to engage in social interactions for typical adults and those with AD. Current research with a person with early-onset AD, who is playing the drum with a music therapist has shown beneficial changes in physical coordination, social interaction, and positive emotional experiences.
The researchers hope to understand if music therapy will lead to positive changes in mood and social connectedness between people with AD and their caregivers. We also wish to understand how people with AD process, store, and retrieve musical memories across the disease process in order to find ways to help caregivers address the challenging emotions and behaviors that are often present for those with AD. Findings from this study will help to increase the knowledge-base for music therapists so that they can plan more effective music interventions for people with AD across the disease process, and the research findings will be used to develop training programs for caregivers to help with the implementation of music-based strategies to support positive relationships and connectedness with a person or persons with AD.