Name that tune: Your favorite music can amplify brain function (even in Alzheimer’s patients!)

Whether it’s classical, jazz, or early rock and roll, I like to have music playing in my home or car. It’s emotionally uplifting and, depending on the tune, a good toe-tapping workout.  

And it turns out it’s good for brain health as well.  

In fact, a new study reports that listening to music that’s personally meaningful is beneficial for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  

The researchers asked eight musicians and six non-musicians with early-stage cognitive impairment to put together a playlist of music they found meaningful—like the first dance at their wedding.  

All of the participants listened to this familiar music for one hour per day for three weeks. They also listened to newly composed music that was similar in style to their favorite tunes, but didn’t hold any personal meaning. 

Throughout the study, the participants also took cognitive tests and had their brain activity measured by an MRI. 

The MRIs showed that when the participants heard any type of music, they had activity in the auditory region of the brain, which controls the listening response. (And that certainly makes sense.)  

But when the participants heard their favorite, familiar music, parts of the brain involved in cognitive function—like memory, judgment, and decision-making—were also stimulated. (This is important because these types of functions are often impaired in people with Alzheimer’s and MCI.) 

Specifically, the study showed that the “personalized” music appeared to benefit brain plasticity, which means changes can occur in the brain’s neural pathways. And those changes can lead to improvements in memory.  

Even more importantly, the study showed that the more the participants listened to their favorite music, the more their brain function improved. This was true for both the musicians and the non-musicians, with some subtle differences.  

The researchers said that typically, it’s difficult to show positive brain changes in people with Alzheimer’s.  

Well…they must not have read my Complete Alzheimer’s Fighting Protocol, which details how nutritional approaches and lifestyle changes have been shown to have remarkable brain benefits. (To learn more about this online learning tool, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3Y201.) 

Of course, I’m always looking for natural approaches to combat Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive impairment. And it looks like I’ll add listening to musical favorites to that roster.  

What are some of your favorite songs? Leave me a note in my inbox (, as I’d love to add some of your favorites to my own personal playlist.  

Three of my all-time favorite songs include: Albinoni, Sinfonia in G Major; Corelli Concerto Grosso in D Major; Scarlatti, Keyboard Sonatas (but that’s just me). And of course, the first dance at my daughter’s wedding was Aram Khachaturian – Masquerade Suite – Waltz. 


“Long-Known Music Exposure Effects on Brain Imaging and Cognition in Early-Stage Cognitive Decline: A Pilot Study.” J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;84(2):819-833.