Selective Impairment of Musical Emotion Recognition in Patients With Amnesic Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild to Moderate Alzheimer Disease


Chinese Medical Journal







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BACKGROUND: Patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) and amnesic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) have deficits in emotion recognition. However, it has not yet been determined whether patients with AD and aMCI also experience difficulty in recognizing the emotions conveyed by music. This study was conducted to investigate whether musical emotion recognition is impaired or retained in patients with AD and aMCI. METHODS: All patients were recruited from the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University between March 1, 2015 and January 31, 2017. Using the musical emotion recognition test, patients with AD (n = 16), patients with aMCI (n = 19), and healthy controls (HCs, n = 16) were required to choose one of four emotional labels (happy, sad, peaceful, and fearful) that matched each musical excerpt. Emotion recognition scores in three groups were compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test. We also investigated the relationship between the emotion recognition scores and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) using Pearson's correlation analysis test in patients with AD and aMCI. RESULTS: Compared to the HC group, both of the patient groups showed deficits in the recognition of fearful musical emotions (HC: 7.88 ± 1.36; aMCI: 5.05 ± 2.34; AD: 3.69 ± 2.02), with results of a one-way ANOVA confirming a significant main effect of group (F(2,50) = 18.70, P < 0.001). No significant differences were present among the three groups for the happy (F(2,50)=2.57, P = 0.09), peaceful (F(2,50) = 0.38, P = 0.09), or sad (F(2,50) = 2.50, P = 0.09) musical emotions. The recognition of fearful musical emotion was positively associated with general cognition, which was evaluated by MMSE in patients with AD and aMCI (r = 0.578, P < 0.001). The correlations between the MMSE scores and recognition of the remaining emotions were not significant (happy, r = 0.228, P = 0.11; peaceful, r = 0.047, P = 0.74; sad, r = 0.207, P = 0.15). CONCLUSION: This study showed that both patients with AD and aMCI had decreased ability to distinguish fearful emotions, which might be correlated with diminished cognitive function.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Elderly; Emotional Functioning; Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI); Mental Health; Music and Cognition; Music Cognition; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Age Factors; Elderly; Elderly; Alzheimer Disease; Cognitive Dysfunction; Emotions; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Mental Status and Dementia Tests

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods



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