‘Music Mends Minds’ Band Helps Dementia & Parkinson’s Patients Cope With Illness

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—Music is helping patients with dementia and Parkinson’s cope with their illnesses.

The science of music imaging has shown that music stimulates parts of the brain linked to memory and happiness.

Irwin Rosenstein, 81, has battled Parkinson’s disease and dementia for more than a decade.

Even as his illness began to steal much of his mind his wife Carol says his love for music endured.

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“He was sitting playing piano in our home…and like a dried flower getting a drink of water, he would resurrect!” said Carol Rosenstein.

That gave Carol an idea: to start a band for Irwin and others like him. She created a program called “Music Mends Minds,” bringing together former musicians who suffer from neurological disorders like dementia.

“Most of these people couldn’t tell you their name or their address …and you put them together in a musical environment and they come alive,” Carol said.

Doctor Jeff Bronstein says the music helps revive old memories.

“There’s a real link between pleasure centers and music and memory, so I think this is really tapping into a lot of things that they’ve learned earlier in their life,” said Bronstein.

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Parkinson’s patient Diana Davidow sings with the original group and says it’s given her an outlet to be with others who understand her struggles.

“So nice to be with people who don’t have to be a certain way, just be yourself and we encourage each other so wonderfully,” said Diana Davidow.

Music Mends Minds is expanding and is now helping form bands in cities across the country, and the world.

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