Music intervention on cognitive dysfunction in healthy older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Neurol Sci. 2017 Jun;38(6):983-992. doi: 10.1007/s10072-017-2878-9. Epub 2017 Mar 8.


The background of this study is to determine whether there is an association between music intervention and cognitive dysfunction therapy in healthy older adults, and if so, whether music intervention can be used as first-line non-pharmacological treatment. The method used in this study is to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials that examined the effects of music intervention on patient-relevant and disease-specific outcomes. A comprehensive literature was performed on PubMed, EMbase and the Cochrane Library from inception to September 2016. A total of 10 studies (14 analyses, 966 subjects) were included; all of them had an acceptable quality based on the PEDro scale score and CASP scale score. Compared with control group, the standardized mean difference was 0.03 (-0.18 to 0.24) for cognitive function as primary outcome by random effect model; secondary outcomes were included disruptive behavior, depressive score, anxiety and quality of life. No evidence of publication bias could be found in funnel plots, Begg's test and Egger's test. Subgroup analyses showed that intervention method, comparator, trial design, trial period and outcome measure instruments made little difference in outcomes. Meta-regression might not identify cause of heterogeneity. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD442016036264. There was positive evidence to support the use of music intervention on treatment of cognitive function.

Keywords: Cognitive function; Meta-analysis; Music intervention; Older adults; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy*