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Treasure House

Dr. Avitzur wrote . . . . . . . . .

When I was an intern, I treated a patient in the emergency department who’d had a stroke and was unable to speak. The patient’s family had shared with us his love of baseball, so one of my colleagues, also a fan, started singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to him. My patient joined right in and sang every word with so much gusto that I remember the incident to this day.

Such quirks of the brain have inspired many neurologists. Best-selling author and neurologist Oliver Sacks, who wrote Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain in 2007, described the phenomenon in an interview for this publication the following year: “With music, there’s something very special because of its intense coherence. Every bar of a piece naturally follows a previous bar and leads to the next, and the music is held together by a sense of expectancy. So even if one doesn’t know a piece, one feels where it is going.

“I like to imagine a sort of storage box, a treasure house deep in the brain,” Sacks told us, “in the basal ganglia, the cerebellum—parts of the brain which are not usually affected by stroke or brain damage.”

Music can reengage people with a variety of brain disorders, including dementia, as depicted in the story about Tony Bennett, the legendary singer whose career has spanned more than 70 years. As you will read below, the performer transforms onstage; he understands what he is singing and totally connects with his audience. Bennett demonstrates that music is therapeutic and can be used strategically, according to our experts, who describe how music affects memory and how to take advantage of its power to calm and soothe.

Like many people dealing with neurologic conditions, the Bennett family initially kept Tony’s diagnosis private, deciding to share it publicly later to show people that Alzheimer’s disease does not mean life is over.

Source: Brain and Life

Read more:

Tony Bennett Demonstrates the Power of Music Against Alzheimer’s Disease . . . . .

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