A recent article reported in the Yale Journal of Medicine and Law examined the expanding field of musical therapy. Music therapy is being proposed as a treatment for autism, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few. Highly individualized programs involving singing, playing instruments, composing music and analyzing songs are used to stimulate the brain in unique ways. A study reported in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders (2009) found that twenty-four weeks of personally chosen music played for twenty minutes each week significantly improved emotions and memory recall for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals participating in the music therapy program were less agitated and depressed than those who did not participate.
Another study reported in the journal Brain Research (2010) looked at the phenomenon of mood enhancement associated with music. Scientists observed that laboratory mice exposed to music had increased levels of Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein shown to relieve anxiety and depression.
The key take-away: whether your are woman, man or a mouse, Mozart is good for you.