Can musical intervention improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients? Evidence from a systematic review

ABSTRACT Treatment with music has shown effectiveness in the treatment of general behavioural and cognitive symptoms of patients with various types of dementia. Objective: To assess the effectiveness of treatment with music on the memory of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Methods: A systematic search was performed on PubMed (Medline), Cochrane Library, PsycINFO and Lilacs databases up to June 2017 and included all randomized controlled trials that assessed memory using musical interventions in patients with AD. Results: Forty-two studies were identified, and 24 studies were selected. After applying the exclusion criteria, four studies involving 179 patients were included. These studies showed the benefits of using music to treat memory deficit in patients with AD. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review focusing on randomized trials found in the literature that analysed the role of musical interventions specifically in the memory of patients with AD. Despite the positive outcome of this review, the available evidence remains inconsistent due to the small number of randomized controlled trials.