Musical cognition in Alzheimer's disease: application of the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess certain musical abilities in 30 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 30 healthy controls by using the complete version of the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia (MBEA). This battery evaluates melodic (scale, contour, and interval) and temporal (rhythm and meter) perception of music and musical memory. We found that altered musical processing is a common feature in AD. Despite that, AD subjects show partially spared abilities for temporal organization of music, though not for melodic perception and musical memory. This peculiar dysfunctional pattern could depend on the neurodegenerative involvement of some specific areas for music perception and memory in the brains of AD patients. Further studies are needed to investigate the usefulness of additional musical tests like the MBEA on larger samples to confirm our preliminary data.

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