Research update

February 22, 2021

Three recent studies have caught our eye, and we’ve included them on our research page. Two investigate music and dementia while the third is about hearing and dementia.

In October 2020, A cross-sectional study of reminiscence bumps for music-related memories in adulthood was published in Music & Science. It is one of the largest explorations of its kind to date and found evidence of a reminiscence bump in adolescence, peaking around age 14.

The 470 participants, aged 18-82, were shown the titles and artists of 111 popular songs that featured in the charts between 1950 and 2015. They rated the degree to which they had autobiographical memories associated with each song, as well as the degree to which they were familiar with and liked the song.

Is there a dose-response relationship between musical instrument playing and later-life cognition? was published in January 2021.  A cohort study using EPIC-Norfolk data, it supports a positive association between late mid-life musical instrument playing and later-life cognition. Of the 5,693 participants, those who played frequently had 80% higher chance of being in the top cognitive decile.

On hearing and dementia, new research published this month showed that people with a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) using hearing aids were at significantly lower risk of developing all-cause dementia compared to those not using hearing aids.

The percentage of participants who had not developed dementia five years after the baseline MCI diagnosis was 19% for non-users of hearing aids and 33% for those using hearing aids. Association of the use of hearing aids with the conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia and progression of dementia: a longitudinal retrospective study was led by Magda Bucholc at the University of Ulster.

More information about hearing loss, music and dementia.