John M. Becker

Study: Singing Show Tunes Helps Fight Dementia

Filed By John M. Becker | November 15, 2013 4:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Broadway, making music, music, scientific study, showtunes, singing

the_hills_are_alive.PNGWe'll end the day today with some good news for all you theatre queens out there: a recent study suggests that belting out classic show tunes can help boost the brain function of people with Alzheimer's disease. The Guardian reports:

Over a four-month study, the mental performance of patients who took part in regular group singing sessions improved compared with others who just listened.

In the sessions, patients were led through familiar songs from The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio.

The sessions appeared to have the most striking effect on people with moderate to severe dementia, with patients scoring higher on cognitive and drawing tests, and also on a satisfaction-with-life questionnaire at the end of the study.

Jane Flinn, a neuroscientist at George Mason University in Virginia, said care homes that did not hold group singing sessions should consider them, because they were cheap, entertaining and beneficial for patients with Alzheimer's.

"Even when people are in the fairly advanced stages of dementia, when it is so advanced they are in a secure ward, singing sessions were still helpful. The message is: don't give up on these people. You need to be doing things that engage them, and singing is cheap, easy and engaging," she said.

The study's findings corroborate another recent study from Helsinki University in Finland, along with whole heap of anecdotal evidence.

So sing, sing, sing! And if your spouse/partner/significant other/roommate/sibling/parent tells you to pipe down, tell them you're exercising your brain.

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