Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not music therapy intervention have an effect on emotional behavior of Alzheimer patients. Behavior variables measuring are agitation and anxiety.

STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review of two randomized, controlled trials published in 2009 and 2014, respectively, and one randomized control case study published in 2006.

DATA SOURCE: Three published studies comparing music therapy intervention on behavioral modifications with Alzheimer patients were found using PubMed and Medline

OUTCOMES MEASURES: All three studies measure behavior in Alzheimer patients based on a variety of well validated measures, Behavior Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease Rating Scale (BEHAVE-AD), Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) and the Hamilton Scale.

RESULTS: Svandottir et al showed a significant reduction in anxiety, activity disturbances and aggressiveness with music therapy intervention, Guétin et al results confirmed the valuable effect that music intervention has on decreasing anxiety in Alzheimer patients and Narme et al study showed an improvement in the emotional state of Alzheimer patient.

CONCLUSIONS: The data show benefit to music therapy as a safe and effective method for treating agitation and anxiety in Alzheimer patients. We can conclude that music therapy is effective in reducing severity in behavioral mood. Future studies should aim to report data with larger sample sizes and with different music genres as variables.