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Musical dual-task training in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia: a randomized controlled trial

Authors Chen YL, Pei YC

Received 7 December 2017

Accepted for publication 6 April 2018

Published 30 May 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 1381—1393


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Yu-Ling Chen,1,2 Yu-Cheng Pei3–6

1Department of Music, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, OK, USA; 2Division of Music Education and Music Therapy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA; 3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 4Center of Vascularized Tissue Allograft, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 5School of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan; 6Healthy Aging Research Center, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Background/aims: Dual-task training may improve dual-task gait performance, balance, and cognition in older adults with and without cognitive impairment. Although music has been widely utilized in dementia management, there are no existing protocols for music-based dual-task training. This randomized controlled study developed a Musical Dual-Task Training (MDTT) protocol that patients with dementia can use to practice walking and making music simultaneously, to enhance attention control in patients during dual-tasking.
Methods: Twenty-eight adults diagnosed with mild-to-moderate dementia were assigned to the MDTT (n=15) or control groups (n=13). The MDTT group received MDTT, while the control group participated in non-musical cognitive and walking activities. The effects of MDTT were evaluated through the primary outcome of attention control, and secondary outcomes of dual-task performance, balance, falls efficacy, and agitation.
Results: The MDTT group showed a significant improvement in attention control, while the control group did not (P<0.001). A significant effect favored MDTT over control treatment for the secondary outcome of falls efficacy (P=0.02) and agitation (P<0.01).
Conclusion: MDTT, a music therapy intervention that demands a high level of cognitive processing, enhances attention control, falls efficacy, and helps alleviate agitation in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia.

music therapy, dementia, attention, agitation, incidental falls

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