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Self-defining memories during exposure to music in Alzheimer's disease

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2015

Mohamad El Haj*
Affiliation:
Laboratoire SCALab UMR CNRS 9193-University of Lille Nord de France, France
Pascal Antoine
Affiliation:
Laboratoire SCALab UMR CNRS 9193-University of Lille Nord de France, France
Jean Louis Nandrino
Affiliation:
Laboratoire SCALab UMR CNRS 9193-University of Lille Nord de France, France
Marie-Christine Gély-Nargeot
Affiliation:
Epsylon Laboratory, EA 4556, University Montpellier III, Montpellier, France
Stéphane Raffard
Affiliation:
Epsylon Laboratory, EA 4556, University Montpellier III, Montpellier, France University Department of Adult Psychiatry, CHRU Montpellier, Montpellier, France
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: Mohamad El Haj, Laboratoire SCALab UMR CNRS 9193- University of Lille Nord de France, Domaine du Pont de Bois, 59653 Villeneuve d’Ascq, France. Phone: +33(0)3-20-41-72-05; Email: mohamad.elhaj@univ-lille3.fr.

Abstract

Background:

Research suggests that exposure to music may enhance autobiographical recall in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) patients. This study investigated whether exposure to music could enhance the production of self-defining memories, that is, memories that contribute to self-discovery, self-understanding, and identity in AD patients.

Methods:

Twenty-two mild-stage AD patients and 24 healthy controls were asked to produce autobiographical memories in silence, while listening to researcher-chosen music, and to their own-chosen music.

Results:

AD patients showed better autobiographical recall when listening to their own-chosen music than to researcher-chosen music or than in silence. More precisely, they produced more self-defining memories during exposure to their own-chosen music than to researcher-chosen music or during silence. Additionally, AD patients produced more self-defining memories than autobiographical episodes or personal-semantics during exposure to their own-chosen music. This pattern contrasted with the poor production of self-defining memories during silence or during exposure to researcher-chosen music. Healthy controls did not seem to enjoy the same autobiographical benefits nor the same self-defining memory enhancement in the self-chosen music condition.

Conclusions:

Poor production of self-defining memories, as observed in AD, may somehow be alleviated by exposure to self-chosen music.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2015 

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