Does music therapy improve anxiety and depression in Alzheimer’s patients?

Alzheimer’s Disease has no cure and is a degenerative disease that causes cognitive and behavioral impairments. Depression and anxiety are symptoms that are often experienced with Alzheimer’s Disease. When anxious or stressed, levels of cortisol increased in blood, saliva, sweat, hair, and urine. In, “Does Music Therapy improve Anxiety and Depression in Alzheimer’s Patients?”, De La Rubia Orti, et al look into if music therapy can reduce cortisol levels in Alzheimer’s patients.

25 patients with mild-stage Alzheimer’s Disease, with similar medication and dosages, participated in the study. Saliva samples were collected directly after the music therapy sessions in order to accurately measure the levels of cortisol post treatment. During music therapy treatment, patients engaged in a welcome song (geared towards recalling names and faces of group members as well as the days of the week) followed by songs with a theme of “flowers” (to maintain cognitive level, memory, and socialization). Patients were also given a self-report anxiety and depression test before and after the music therapy sessions.

Results showed that anxiety and depression, related to the cortisol levels, both decreased, but the decrease for levels of depression were more significant. This supports that music therapy could be a supplementary therapy to help decrease anxiety and depression levels in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Due to the small sample size, the authors recommend more studies of music therapy with Alzheimer’s disease be conducted for more supportive research. For more information on music therapy, continue to or

By Jessica Fletcher, MM, MT-BC

De La Rubia Orti, J. E., Garcia-Pardo, M. P., Iranzo, C. C., Madrical, J. J., Castillo, S. S., Rochina, M. J., & Gasco, V. J. (2018). Does music therapy improve anxiety and depression in alzheimer’s patients? The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,24(2), 33-36.