Improvement of Autobiographic Memory Recovery by Means of Sad Music in Alzheimer's Disease Type Dementia

J. J. Meilán García
R. Iodice
J. Carro
J. A. Sánchez
F. Palmero
A. M. Mateos

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Autobiographic memory undergoes progressive deterioration during the evolution of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aim of this study was to analyze mechanisms which facilitate recovery of autobiographic memories. We used a repeatedly employed mechanism, music, with the addition of an emotional factor. METHODS: Autobiographic memory provoked by a variety of sounds (music which was happy, sad, lacking emotion, ambient noise in a coffee bar and no sound) was analyzed in a sample of 25 patients with AD. RESULTS: Emotional music, especially sad music for remote memories, was found to be the most effective kind for recall of autobiographic experiences. CONCLUSIONS: The factor evoking the memory is not the music itself, but rather the emotion associated with it, and is useful for semantic rather than episodic memory.