music therapy

music therapy

Maturitas 71 (2012) 6–7

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Music therapy for dementia

Dementia is a devastating disease that considerably challenges
patients, caregivers, and the United States healthcare systems, with
serious access, cost, and quality issues. As the most common form
of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 5.4 million Americans and is the fifth leading cause of death among older
Americans [1]. By 2050, prevalence is projected to increase to as
high as 16 million as our society rapidly ages [1]. Dementia is
defined as loss in short- and long-term memory, associated with
impairment in abstract thinking and judgment, other disturbances
of higher cortical function, and in some cases, personality change
[2]. Pharmacotherapy is often used to treat some symptoms; however, there are undesirable side effects that hinder the quality of life
for patients [3]. Music therapy has been employed and welcomed
as a safe alternative approach because of its ability to alleviate some
symptoms of dementia [4], and to elicit remarkable responses from
patients [5].
The impact of music on human health has been historically documented in many different cultures as early as the 1800s. While
music therapy is often thought of as a newly emerging profession, the first professional organization, the National Association
for Music Therapy, was founded in 1950 followed by the American Association for Music Therapy (1971). These two later merged
to become the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA, 1998)
in its current form. Music therapy is delivered by MT-BCs (Music
Therapist-Board Certified) who are trained through accredited
programs at bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral levels, completed
a required clinical internship, and passed the board certification
examination. MT-BCs receive extensive training in clinical and
music principles and...

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