Does Music Therapy Improve Anxiety and Depression in Alzheimer's Patients?

J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Jan;24(1):33-36. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0346. Epub 2017 Jul 17.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of a short protocol of music therapy as a tool to reduce stress and improve the emotional state in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease.

Methods: A sample of 25 patients with mild Alzheimer's received therapy based on the application of a music therapy session lasting 60 min. Before and after the therapy, patient saliva was collected to quantify the level of salivary cortisol using the Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA) immunoassay technique and a questionnaire was completed to measure anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale).

Results: The results show that the application of this therapy lowers the level of stress and decreases significantly depression and anxiety, establishing a linear correlation between the variation of these variables and the variation of cortisol.

Conclusions: A short protocol of music therapy can be an alternative medicine to improve emotional variables in Alzheimer patients.

Keywords: Alzheimer's; anxiety; cortisol; depression; music therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis
  • Male
  • Music Therapy*
  • Saliva / chemistry


  • Hydrocortisone