A new report from the Global Council on Brain Health concludes that music can potentially stimulate brain health, manage stress, and help treat brain health conditions as varied as dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

According to the report, music can enhance mood and social connectedness, can reduce anxiety and depression, and may potentially reduce agitation for people living with dementia. Music can also be a tool for caregivers by helping ease the stress and burdens associated with caregiving, and help them engage in positive experiences with their loved ones. There is also strong evidence that specialized music-based treatment may improve movement and recovery in patients with Parkinson’s disease and stroke, including in walking and talking. Singing may also help people recover the loss of language functions after a stroke.

The report recommends ways people can engage with music, including:

• Listen to both familiar and new music. Evidence suggests music you know and like causes the strongest brain response and dopamine release, while new music can stimulate the brain and provide a new source of pleasure.

• Dance, sing or move to music to not only provide physical exercise but potentially help relieve stress, build social connections, and stimulate your brain.

• Make music yourself by singing or playing an instrument. Learning to play a musical instrument can offer a sense of mastery and self-esteem while stimulating thinking skills.

A recent AARP survey found that adults who engage in music are more likely to rate their brain health and cognitive function as excellent or very good.

To read the full report, visit bit.ly/2DcqH1J.

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