Benefits of music therapy on behaviour disorders in subjects diagnosed with dementia: a systematic review

Neurologia. 2017 May;32(4):253-263. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2014.11.001. Epub 2014 Dec 29.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: Dementia is characterised by cognitive deterioration and the manifestation of psychological and behavioural symptoms, especially changes in perception, thought content, mood, and conduct. In addition to drug therapy, non-pharmacological treatments are used to manage these symptoms, and one of these latter treatments is music therapy. Since this novel technique in non-verbal, it can be used to treat patients with dementia at any stage, even when cognitive deterioration is very severe. Patients' responses to music are conserved even in the most advanced stages of the disease DEVELOPMENT: A literature research was carried out using the following databases: Academic Search Complete, PubMed, Science Direct y Dialnet. The period of publication was 2003 to 2013 and the search keywords were 'Music Therapy, Dementia, Behaviour, Behaviour Disorders y Behavioural Disturbances'. Out of the 2188 studies that were identified, 11 studies met inclusion criteria for the systematic review.

Conclusions: Music therapy is beneficial and improves behavior disorders, anxiety and agitation in subjects diagnosed with dementia.

Keywords: Alteraciones conductuales; Behaviour; Behaviour disorders; Conducta; Demencia; Dementia; Music therapy; Musicoterapia.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Psychomotor Agitation / psychology*