I think it's safe to say the Music and Memories are strongly tied for everyone. This time of year holiday music is playing just about everywhere and whether your sick of it by now or not, your brain hears those familiar jingles and knows what time of year it is. A recent study now shows the part of your brain responsible for ASMR catalogs music, and appears to be a stronghold against Alzheimer's and Dementia.
If you're especially into a piece of music, your brain does something called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), which feels to you like a tingling in your brain or scalp. It's nature's own little "buzz", a natural reward, that is described by some as a "head orgasm". Some even think that it explains why people go to church, for example, "feeling the Lord move through you", but that's another article for another time.
Turns out that ASMR is pretty special. According to a recently published study in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease (catchy name!), the part of your brain responsible for ASMR doesn't get lost to Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's tends to put people into layers of confusion, and the study confirms that music can sometimes actually lift people out of the Alzheimer's haze and bring them back to (at least a semblance of) normality... if only for a short while. ASMR is powerful stuff!
Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in Radiology at the University of Utah Health and contributing author on the study, says "In our society, the diagnoses of dementia are snowballing and are taxing resources to the max. No one says playing music will be a cure for Alzheimer's disease, but it might make the symptoms more manageable, decrease the cost of care and improve a patient's quality of life."
Check out the original article as well as video of man named Henry who comes out of Dementia each time his listens to songs from his youth: