A four-month study found that individuals with Alzheimer's disease can increase brain function by singing songs from hit musicals, The Guardian reported. George Mason University observed the mental performance of patients who participated in group singing sessions on a regular basis compared to those who only listened.
Alzheimer's patients who participated in the study heard songs from "The Sound of Music", "Oklahoma”, "The Wizard of Oz" and "Pinocchio”. The music sessions had the highest impact on those with moderate to severe dementia, according to the source. Individuals were able to score higher on cognitive and drawing tests as well as a satisfaction-with-life questionnaire.
Jane Flinn, a neuroscientist from George Mason University who led the study, said care homes should consider offering group singing sessions because of the benefits to Alzheimer's patients. Those who receive senior care services may also benefit from participating in singing classical hits.
"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," Flinn told The Guardian. "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."