Effects of Music Therapy on Psychological Symptoms and Heart Rate Variability in Patients With Dementia. A Pilot Study


Current Aging Science




We assessed the effects of music therapy (MT) on behavioral and psychological symptoms (BPSD) in dementia associated with changes in physiological parameters, as heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV). Twenty subjects were randomly assigned to MT treatment or standard care; all patients underwent neuropsychological assessment and ECG Holter recordings before and after the 15-week treatment. The treatment included 30 MT sessions. Depression significantly decreased (p=0.021) in the MT group. PNN50 improved in 50% patients of the MT group, but in none of the control group (p=0.013). MT may improve symptoms of depression and increase HRV in demented patients.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Behavioral State; Depression; Heart Rate; Music Therapy; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Psychological Outcomes; Vital Signs

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Dementia; Depression; Electrocardiography, Ambulatory; Heart Rate; Neuropsychological Tests; Pilot Projects; Severity of Illness Index

Study Type

Randomized Controlled; Trial; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type