Project Title: 

Music-Based Interventions to Enhance Interpersonal Synchrony for the Caregiver-Care Recipient Relationship in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Funding detail: 
NEA Research Lab
University of Southern California
Principal Investigator: 
Assal Habibi
Start year: 
Project summary: 

USC's Brain and Music Lab will partner with the university's Thornton School of Music and its Alzheimer Disease Research Center to conduct a series of studies examining the effects of music engagement through choir training on hearing, communication, and psychosocial well-being of individuals with or at risk for Alzheimer's disease, and their caregivers. The lab, which corresponds with the NEA research priority topic of "measuring the arts' impacts on health and wellness for individuals," will consider factors such as age, genetic predisposition, socio-economic characteristics, demographic backgrounds, and the caregiver role in relation to the benefits of music engagement on the cognitive and socioemotional well-being of older adults. For the lab's keystone study, a team of interdisciplinary researchers will conduct a randomized-controlled trial of a 16-week music intervention for older adults from diverse backgrounds, with some participants assigned to an experimental group (community choir-singing) and others to a control group (music-listening). Pre- and post-intervention data will be collected from participants through a variety of measurement tools such as electrophysiology, wearable sensors, and psychosocial metrics. Future studies conducted by the lab will identify the effects of choir-singing on emotional stress and quality of life for caregivers of individuals with dementia in particular, and will explore other benefits of co-participation in choir-singing by individuals with dementia and their caregivers. The team will share its findings and resources through a website, academic publications and presentations, and mainstream media outlets; non-technical products will be available in both English and Spanish. The team also hopes to disseminate research and products through the Sound Health Network, a separate NEA initiative in partnership with University of California San Francisco.