Singing in a choir can delay the decline in cognitive function, the study says.

Helsinki scientists in Finland are studying how singing habits can help rehabilitate people with aphasia, such as actor Bruce Willis, and prevent diseases that lead to cognitive decline. Aphasia is a condition that affects a patient’s communication skills after a series of brain injuries, such as a stroke.

Despite the difficulties, melodic intonation therapy has shown good results in these patients. Singing instead of saying words can help some people communicate better.

Professor Teppo Särkämö, coordinator of the Premus project, has created an elderly choir dedicated to the treatment of patients with aphasia and families dedicated to the care of research. The research group also performed a series of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of the brains of young, middle-aged, and elderly people singing in choirs with participants to compare the data.

The results showed that the networks of the brain involved in the song were less altered than those involved in speech over the years.

In an interview with the newspaper El País, Särkämö explains that when a person sings, the frontal and parietal lobe systems of the brain are activated and more motor and cognitive resources related to language control and executive function are used. Did. These two systems are responsible for coordinating behavior.

In addition, members of the choir were able to achieve better results on neuropsychological tests, had less cognitive impairment, and showed greater social integration. Tests using brain waves have shown even better hearing processing capabilities. This allows you to combine information about the pitch of the frontotemporal region of the brain.

The study also showed that social interactions associated with choir singing can also delay the onset of dementia.


“Ultimately, the goal of our work with people with aphasia is to speak without singing and ultimately use songs as a tool for communication, but in coral. We see the impact of this intervention as an essential communication tool in people’s daily lives, “says the researchers.

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