the effect of pathological aging on explicit memory is very well documented, but relatively few studies have addressed this issue in the musical domain. To examine learning and consolidation of melodies, we designed a melodic recognition task involving immediate and delayed recognition of 16 target melodies (8 familiar and 8 unfamiliar). Seventeen patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 17 age-matched controls were tested. During the initial presentation of the targets, the participant had to decide whether or not the melody was familiar. Recognition was tested after one and three presentations of the target melodies using a yes/no recognition paradigm. Delayed recognition was tested after 24 hours to evaluate consolidation. In keeping with the findings of Bartlett, Halpern, and Dowling (1995), age-matched controls showed better recognition of familiar than unfamiliar melodies. Controls also showed improved performance with multiple presentations for both familiar and unfamiliar melodies, without forgetting after 24-hour delay. In contrast, patients with AD showed impaired learning and recognition of both unfamiliar and familiar melodies with no benefit of familiarity on recognition. Nevertheless, the familiarity decision-based ratings of patients was in keeping with controls. These findings suggest that musical recognition memory is impaired in AD, but the musical lexicon (as assessed by familiarity ratings) is preserved. These findings highlight the need to use both familiar and unfamiliar music in experimental tasks to study the different processes underlying recognition memory.
in this study, we examined short and longer term effects of musical and cooking interventions on emotional well-being of severe Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. These two pleasurable activities (i.e., listening to music, tasting sweets) that were collectively performed (i.e., playing music together, collaborative preparation of a cake) were compared in two groups of matched patients with AD ( N = 14). Each intervention lasted four weeks (two sessions per week) and their effects were regularly assessed up to four weeks after the end of the intervention. We repeatedly evaluated the emotional state of both groups before, during, and after the intervention periods by analyzing discourse content and facial expressions from short filmed interviews as well as caregivers' judgments of mood. The results reveal short-term benefits of both music and cooking interventions on emotional state on all these measures, but long-term benefits were only evident after the music intervention. The present finding suggests that non-pharmacological approaches offer promising methods to improve the quality of life of patients with dementia and that music stimulation is particularly effective to produce long lasting effects on patients' emotional well-being.