The Effects of Hymns on Cognitive Function of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease A Pilot Study

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McHugh, Larisa
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Persons with Alzheimer’s disease have short and long-term memory loss, and difficulty with abstract thinking. This decreased cognitive function is something that affects everyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and treatment is focused on increasing quality of life and maintaining functional abilities as long as possible. Music therapy is sometimes part of the treatment process and one of the goals of music therapy with persons with Alzheimer’s disease is to stimulate short and long-term memory, thereby stabilizing cognitive function. While there is a body of research available on music therapy and Alzheimer’s disease, little exists on the effects of different types of music utilized in therapy. A more thorough understanding of the effects of different types of music used in therapy would be beneficial to the people receiving therapy and the music therapy professionals providing treatment. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the feasibility of hymn singing to enhance the cognitive function of persons with Alzheimer’s disease.