Music and Memory
Most of us have experienced moments when an old song comes on the radio that triggers vivid memories and emotions from our past. The memories may include people we used to know, places we have been, and the emotions tied to that time and place the song takes us back to. What is the neuroscience behind the ability of music to evoke such strong memories of the people and places from our past?
The answer to that question is complex with documentation from a number of studies revealing how the brain is stimulated and memories triggered by music. Studies have found that listen to music engages broad neural networks in the brain, including regions responsible for motor actions, emotions and creativity.
The part of the brain that is activated with music is located in the medial prefrontal cortex region right behind the forehead and is one of the last areas of the brain to atrophy over the course of Alzheimer’s disease. According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, “musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer’s patients because the area of the brain associated with musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease.” (Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, 2018)
What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head. It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person’s face in your mind’s eye or recall a specific memory of a time and place.
In 2012, an initiative was created to reduce the use of psychotropic medications for dementia patients in nursing home settings. The trend of using sedation through medication to control behaviors was no longer acceptable. The expectation became to eliminate or reduce psychotropic medications to the lowest effective dose with periodic review to determine if the medication was still needed.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their families. We had another great turn out here at OBE. It was great to see the residents and family members having a good time.
We will have a Christmas lunch held at noon again this year. Please let us know if you would like to attend.
I wish you all a Happy Holidays!
Poetry by Bob
Listening is a delicate art
With an open mind receptiveness improves
The speakers, we will find, will even flow and glisten
Absolutely no limit to learning
Should we dedicate ourselves to seek the word?
From children we hear the sound of thrill
The aged voice so low and in muted tone
From the scholar we hear of great detail
These and many more are only a start
We are ready for Christmas here at Olive Branch. And the New year is upon us.
Thursday, December 13th Chef Ryan will be doing a Food game at 2:00. We are going to close our eyes, try food and see if we can guess what it is. Please join us for the fun! We will also be making a trip to the Minnesota Arboretum to look at the Christmas lights and maybe a little window shopping to end the visit.
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