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Music captures the memory

The BBC, acting on recent research, has launched a new feature on its music website which sends out, literally, a lifeline to dementia and Alzheimer sufferers.

The ability of music to soothe and stimulate the memory has been researched and proven to not only relieve high anxiety, depression, disengagement but to reach people in a way that calms them and also cheers them up. As it engages the person through music, it reawakens ( mostly) pleasant memories, usually of their youth or just the sound track of their lives.

Music therapy has been used on all age groups for years to treat depression, stress, anxiety, disengagement, psychosis, anger and reaches a part of the brain that brings back pleasant memories and raises the spirits of the listener. It encourages people to move, to exercise and even to dance. And dance is associated with joy and fun.

Using music can reduce the dependence on anti-psychotic drugs. However, because so few care facilities have a regular music programme, the charity Playlist for Life has teamed up with the BBC to produce this Memories website.

Launched last week as part of Music Week, it enables the user.carer to enter the listener's date of birth/place of birth/gender/where they grew up and this can produce the music-everything from classical music to themes from tv shows and films to pop. The music we hear from 10-30 has a huge influence on us and our teen age years are even more influential. This music becomes embedded in our brain and although we might not be responding to the life around us, when played this music, there is inevitability a strong reaction.

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