Brains of older adults ‘rewarded’ with music they don’t even like, BC researcher discovers – BC News

Brain ‘rewarded’ by music

The Canadian Press – | Story: 485451

A researcher at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University says the brains of older adults experience a sense of reward when they listen to music, even if it’s a song they don’t particularly like.

Sarah Faber says her work on how healthy brains respond to music as they age creates a foundation for future research in people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to better understand these diseases.

The study, published in the journal Network Neuroscience, involved 80 participants, including college students in their 20s and people as old as 90, who took functional MRI scans while listening to the music they chose, as well as some that the researchers had been selected.

Faber says they found that reward parts of the brain were activated in younger adults while listening to music they liked or were familiar with, but older adults showed that the same area was stimulated even when the music was new to them , or if they didn’t like music. It.

She says having a baseline for how a healthy brain responds to music will allow researchers to detect changes in people with Alzheimer’s disease and potentially improve therapies.

Faber, who was a music therapist before working as a neuroscientist, says research on people with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging if someone is unable to speak or explain what he or she is thinking or feeling in a moment.

“There is a lot of interest in how to predict who will develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and, once people develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, who will respond to treatment and what kind of treatment,” she said.

“The brain is fascinating, but it doesn’t exist in a jar. It’s attached to a body, which is attached to an environment, a community and a social structure.”