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Cognitive decline can be detected earlier with groundbreaking ‘music’ test

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The mental state and ability of seniors can be measured by a groundbreaking new test involving music – and it may have opened up a new way to identify cognitive decline. 

A music test, run by scientists at Tel Aviv University is a way of measuring a subject’s electrical activity, and with routine monitoring, can result in the early detection of decline. 

The test involves a digital device which, which they use to carry out an electroencephalography (EEG) on the person as they carry out a small, musical test. If it proves to be continually successful, it may offer scientists a way to spot cognitive decline earlier, and treat it more effectively. 

The academics said: “Our method enables the monitoring of cognitive capability and detection of cognitive decline already in the early stages.

“This method is of special importance today due to the increase in longevity and accelerated population growth, particularly among the elderly.”

Cognitive decline to increase 

They added: “Today, millions of people around the world already suffer or are liable to suffer soon from cognitive decline and its dire consequences, and their number will only increase in the coming decades.

“Our method could pave the way towards efficient cognitive monitoring of the general population, and thus detect cognitive decline in its early stages, when treatment and prevention of severe decline are possible. It is therefore expected to improve the quality of life of millions around the world.”

The Mozart effect

Music drastically affecting the brain is nothing new. The Mozart effect, for example, is a theory that listening to music can temporarily boost the IQ capabilities of a subject in a test. 

Music has long been understood to have a huge effect on a person’s mood and even mental state, and has been used in therapies for decades. 

Using it to detect and treat serious conditions is a younger concept, but one which is becoming more and more promising in scientific research.

One author of the test said: “Our method enables routine monitoring and early detection of cognitive decline in order to provide treatment and prevent rapid, severe deterioration.

“Prophylactic tests of this kind are commonly accepted for a variety of physiological problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or breast cancer; however, to date no method has yet been developed to enable routine, accessible monitoring of the brain for cognitive issues.”

Read the full study in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 


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