Receptive music interventions improve apathy and depression in elderly patients with dementia

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Massimiliano Massaia
Alessandro Reano
Chiara Luppi
Francesca Santagata
Margherita Marchetti *
Giovanni Carlo Isaia
(*) Corresponding Author:
Margherita Marchetti |


Individuals with dementia and their families often experience poor quality of life due to patient’s behavioral and psychological symptoms. Increasing evidence has mounted on the potential role of music in improving social, emotional and cognitive skills. In the present study we aim to investigate whether a receptive music intervention might reduce apathy and depression in elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or vascular dementia (VaD) and improve their caregivers’ burden. Among patients attending to a Memory Clinic, we have enrolled 48 AD or VaD elderly subjects. They were divided into two groups on the basis of family agreement to musictherapy. The experimental group (n=15) was asked to listen to a 80-minute audio CD, for at least 15 minutes per day, at least once a week, for three months. The overall sample was evaluated at baseline, at week 4 and at week 12 through the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Cornel- Brown Scale QoL in Dementia (CBSQoLD) and the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES); caregiver stress was assessed using the Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI). Apathy and depression were significantly improved among patients treated with music interventions compared to control group (treatment effect =43.667; P<0.001 and treatment effect =61.238; P<0.001 respectively). Caregiver burden was significantly reduced after three months of receptive music approach (treatment effect =15.759; P<0.001). The results of this study are consistent with the efficacy of receptive music interventions on improving apathy and depression in AD or VaD elderly patients and lowering associated caregiver’s burden.

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