Preservation of music-evoked emotions and memories in Alzheimer's disease

Description

With the rapid ageing of the population and the increasing prevalence of age-related cognitive decline and dementia, there is a growing interest in music as a neurorehabilitation tool. In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), music provides a valuable and effective tool for support emotional, social, and cognitive functioning. Behavioural studies suggest that perceiving, responding to emotionally, recalling, and producing (singing) music is often remarkably well preserved in AD compared to other domains affected by the disease. However, there is currently very little experimental evidence on how far along the AD severity continuum are music-induced emotions and memories really spared and what neural mechanisms underlie this.
Using a large sample of AD patients with differing degree of dementia (N = 90) and healthy control subjects (N = 30), the aim of the present cross-sectional study is to explore the nature and preservation of music-induced emotions and memories during ageing, with the focus on the progression of AD. Specifically, we will determine (i) how does the experience of music-evoked emotions and memories and their underlying neural mechanisms differ in mild and moderate AD compared to normal ageing, (ii) can sung melodies function as a mnemonic aid in the learning and recall of novel verbal material (stories) in mild and moderate AD compared to normal ageing, and (iii) does familiar music evoke autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses; emotion-, attention- and memory-related neural oscillations, and auditory memory-related evoked brain responses (mismatch negativity, MMN) in mild, moderate and severe AD compared to normal ageing. The research methods comprise different music and auditory tasks, neuropsychological tests, and questionnaires as well as mobile electoencephalography (EEG) and autonomic nervous system (ANS) measurements and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (s/fMRI).
StatusActive
Effective start/end date09/03/201830/06/2021