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Preservation and Efficacy of Music and Singing in Ageing, Aphasia, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Project description

Singing to bring memories back

In cases of Alzheimer’s disease, aphasia and ageing, there is growing evidence for preservation of music-evoked memories and emotions in singing. This could make music and singing an alternative channel for verbal and emotional expression, inducing memory and self-awareness. In this context, the EU-funded PREMUS project will compare and identify the effects of the different depths in seniors’ engagement in singing activity for speech perception and production and cognitive, emotional and social functioning. The research team will analyse social and neural bases of singing’s effects in normal ageing compared to different stages of Alzheimer’s disease. PREMUS’s goal is to explore and formulate novel interventions based on choir singing, melodic intonation and music-based therapies in ageing, aphasia and dementia patients.


For the human brain, music is a highly complex and versatile stimulus that is closely linked to speech, executive-motor, emotion, and memory networks. In severe ageing-related neurological disorders, such as post-stroke aphasia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia, music and singing may provide a valuable alternative route to verbal and emotional expression and to memory and self-awareness. However, the neural processes underlying this are still poorly understood. Moreover, although there is increasing evidence for the efficacy of musical activities in supporting normal neurocognitive ageing and enhancing neurological recovery, the focus has been on individual-level musical activities, overlooking the enormous social potential of music.
PREMUS will combine modern behavioural and neuroimaging methods in the unique context of cross-sectional and cohort studies and clinical trials to achieve both fundamental and applied research goals. The fundamental goal of PREMUS is to determine the neural basis of singing, music-evoked emotions and memories, and explicit and implicit musical learning (i) across normal ageing, (ii) in aphasia, and (iii) in different stages of AD. The applied goal of PREMUS is to uncover the rehabilitative potential of social musical activities by (iv) exploring the long-term efficacy of choir singing on neurocognitive, emotional, and social functioning in normal ageing and mild cognitive impairment and (v) determining the rehabilitative efficacy of a novel intervention that utilizes adapted choir singing, melodic intonation therapy, and computer-based singing training on verbal, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning in aphasia, together with uncovering the structural and functional neuroplasticity changes underlying the effects of the singing interventions. The outcome of PREMUS will have major scientific, clinical, and societal value as well as enormous practical impact on promoting healthy ageing, aphasia rehabilitation, and dementia care



Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 967,00
Yliopistonkatu 3
00014 Helsingin yliopisto

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Manner-Suomi Helsinki-Uusimaa Helsinki-Uusimaa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)