Ging-Yuek Robin Hsiung
Relevant Degree Programs
Graduate Student Supervision
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2021)
Our study investigates whether neural activity corroborates existing behavioral evidence that familiar music is beneficial to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients in music therapy (MT). We hypothesized that AD patients will show different patterns of blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) activity, compared to healthy elderly controls, when listening to familiar versus unfamiliar music. Ten subjects with mild to moderate AD and ten healthy elderly controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while listening to blocks of differing auditory stimuli, interleaved with blocks of static noise. The stimuli were a) familiar music b) unfamiliar music c) scrambled familiar music d) scrambled unfamiliar music. Each subject was exposed to each stimulus category twice, in randomized order. We found different patterns of activation emerge for AD patients versus control subjects when listening to familiar music and when listening to unfamiliar music. For familiar music, AD patients had more activated areas than control subjects. For unfamiliar music, control subjects had more activated areas than AD subjects. However, only one investigated area was significantly differently activated between the 2 groups. This area was the temporopolar area, and it was significantly more active in controls than in AD subjects during unfamiliar music. In this paper, we will first discuss the known neurological substrates of music processing and then the possible functions of the areas found significantly active in response to our musical stimuli. We begin with providing background information on music and the brain.