According to a study, reported in The Guardian, singing songs from musicals can boost function of the brain in people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers working in a U.S. Care facility with people having dementia found that those residents who sang the tunes reported substantial improvement in their mental performances as compared to those, who only listened to the tunes.
The study was conducted over a period of four months, during which, patients were made to participate in listening to and singing songs from musicals like Oklahoma and Pinocchio during sessions of 50 minutes. It was found that only half of the participants sung along.
Listening to the songs resulted in activity in temporal lobe in the right side of the brain, whereas singing of the songs resulted in increased activity in the left side of the brain.
Patients, who sung showtunes, scored more on cognitive and drawing tests that were conducted after the study. They also scored higher on questionnaires related to satisfaction with life.
Neuroscientist, Jane Flinn said that a lot of people have grown up singing songs and those memories are still present in the subconscious mind. When people start singing those songs, it revives those memories. This technique is helpful even in the advanced stages of dementia. It is important not to give up on these people and do things that engross them. Singing is a cheap and effective method to keep them engaged.
The showtunes that were used during the study were “The sound of music” and “When you wish upon a star.”