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Classical 101

Show Tunes May Slow Alzheimer's

New research shows that playing songs like "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "The Sound of Music" and "When You Wish Upon A Star," to Alzheimer's patients could help fight the disease. The research out George Mason University reported in the New York Post dovetails nicely with continuing studies in music therapy. According to the report in the Post: Researchers working with elderly residents at an East Coast care home found in a four-month long study found that people who sang their favorite songs showed a marked improvement compared to those who just listened. Among the songs sung during 50-minute sessions were hits from "The Wizard of Oz," "Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music." The article went on to say that it is found that an Alzheimer's patient can be "brought back" albeit briefly by music. Play a Word War II vet Glenn Miller or the Andrews Sisters. What did Grandma like to dance to? Play the Vietnam Vet some Jimi Hendrix, you may be able to have a conversation, and more importantly build a bridge to further cognition. Every little note helps. Why not?

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.