Music soothes the aging brain in film ‘Alive Inside’ | Science News

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Music soothes the aging brain in film ‘Alive Inside’

A social worker goes on a quest to bring tunes to nursing homes

9:00am, August 9, 2014

OPENING UP  A carefully chosen tune can awaken the minds and hearts of elderly people who have withdrawn into themselves.

Some of the most potent medicine doesn’t come in a paper cup or a little pill. Instead, it pours from a cheap set of headphones. As chronicled in Alive Inside, music has the power to awaken long-dormant memories and emotions in people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other disorders.

In the documentary, filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett follows the work of social worker Dan Cohen as he attempts to bring music to people in desperate need of soul soothing. Many of the patients depicted in the film live in nursing homes, places that can leave a person adrift, especially if that person suffers from dementia. One elderly man named Henry sits unresponsive until headphones begin playing his old favorites, including jazz singer Cab Calloway.

As soon as Henry hears the music, his eyes pop open. He begins singing and moving around in his wheelchair. His body and mind are transformed. Henry’s awakening went viral online in 2012 when it was released as a

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