101-year-old woman with dementia doesn’t forget music

I read about a 101-year-old woman whose dementia seems to have skipped over the musical part of her brain. This is not the first case of music sidestepping brain sicknesses; Oliver Sacks has written about this happening with amnesia.

The article I read in New Scientist says she was a trained musician earlier in life, and those skills stuck with her:

“She rarely knows where she is, and doesn’t recognize people she has met in the last few decades. But she can play nearly 400 songs by ear.”

Elderly hands playing piano
Credit: newscientist.com

This article says that evidence shows music may be spread throughout the brain more than language.

“That might be a reason why it’s able to sustain itself for such a long period in folks that happen to be developing dementia.”

Music continues to amaze and baffle me.


Header photo via Alzheimer’s Society

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