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Playing a musical instrument is associated with slower cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults


Mansky, Richard; Marzel, Alex; Orav, E John; Chocano-Bedoya, Patricia O; Grünheid, Patricia; Mattle, Michèle; Freystätter, Gregor; Stähelin, H B; Egli, Andreas; Bischoff-Ferrari, Heike A (2020). Playing a musical instrument is associated with slower cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 32(8):1577-1584.

Abstract

Background: Elucidating behavioral protective factors for cognitive decline and dementia can have a far-reaching impact.
Aims: To describe the association of present and past musical instrument playing with cognitive function in cognitively intact older adults.
Method: A post hoc observational analysis of the Zurich Disability Prevention Trial. Past and present musical instrument playing was correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and EuroQol-Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-VAS) using linear regression at baseline and mixed-model linear regression over 1 year.
Results: Two hundred community dwelling adults age 70 and older (mean age 77.7) were included. There were 48.5% (97/200) participants, who ever played a musical instrument; 35% (70/200) played in the past and 13.5% (27/200) played at present. At baseline, present players had a suggestively higher adjusted-MMSE than never players (28.9 vs. 28.5, p value 0.059). Over 12 months, compared to never players, ever players showed a significantly better improvement from baseline in adjusted-MMSE (0.29 vs. - 0.12, p value 0.007). The association remained significant even after restricting to participants without higher education (p value 0.03). Over time, no differences were observed for EQ-VAS (p value 0.45). However, past players had the largest decline in health-related quality of life at 12 months.
Discussion: The support for a protective association in our observational study suggests the need for clinical trials to examine the effect of playing a musical instrument on cognitive function and decline. Both returning to play after an interruption and learning to play from the beginning should be examined.
Conclusions: Present and past musical instrument playing may assist in preserving cognitive function in community-dwelling older adults.

Abstract

Background: Elucidating behavioral protective factors for cognitive decline and dementia can have a far-reaching impact.
Aims: To describe the association of present and past musical instrument playing with cognitive function in cognitively intact older adults.
Method: A post hoc observational analysis of the Zurich Disability Prevention Trial. Past and present musical instrument playing was correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and EuroQol-Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-VAS) using linear regression at baseline and mixed-model linear regression over 1 year.
Results: Two hundred community dwelling adults age 70 and older (mean age 77.7) were included. There were 48.5% (97/200) participants, who ever played a musical instrument; 35% (70/200) played in the past and 13.5% (27/200) played at present. At baseline, present players had a suggestively higher adjusted-MMSE than never players (28.9 vs. 28.5, p value 0.059). Over 12 months, compared to never players, ever players showed a significantly better improvement from baseline in adjusted-MMSE (0.29 vs. - 0.12, p value 0.007). The association remained significant even after restricting to participants without higher education (p value 0.03). Over time, no differences were observed for EQ-VAS (p value 0.45). However, past players had the largest decline in health-related quality of life at 12 months.
Discussion: The support for a protective association in our observational study suggests the need for clinical trials to examine the effect of playing a musical instrument on cognitive function and decline. Both returning to play after an interruption and learning to play from the beginning should be examined.
Conclusions: Present and past musical instrument playing may assist in preserving cognitive function in community-dwelling older adults.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Geriatric Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Aging
Health Sciences > Geriatrics and Gerontology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ageing, Geriatrics and Gerontology
Language:English
Date:1 August 2020
Deposited On:02 Dec 2020 15:41
Last Modified:03 Dec 2020 21:01
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1594-0667
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-020-01472-9

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