Shonagh Walker reports on the Music Site That’s Boosting Brain Power.
Music for mind health has been a concept lauded by medical science for decades. Now, Muru Music Health Mindful Music App promises playlists to boost brain power and possibly even prevent brain ageing.
The research-based mindful music listening platform is designed to help listeners relax, relive positive memories and/or become active while stimulating the brain.
“Twenty two percent of the global population is over the age of 60, and every three seconds someone is diagnosed with dementia,” reveals Muru Music Health Founder Nicc Johnson.
“While there is no cure for ageing or cognitive decline, research has shown listening to music can reduce anxiety, depression, blood pressure and pain, as well as improve sleep quality, mood, memory, increase cognitive function, enhance learning and concentration, and slow down the effects of brain ageing.
“When it comes to music, whether we’re listening or participating, the brain does something magical. The human brain can separate the complex rhythm, melody and emotion of a song in a split second. It can also instantly recognise a song it’s heard before and decide whether we like it or not.
“For people living with Alzheimer’s, therapists and neurologists have found that when a person listens to familiar songs from their youth, it can reduce the level of brain fog and confusion and in some cases enable more effective communication.”
Researchers at The University of California, Irvine, concur. They investigated the link between music and cognitive performance and in short, found that it was possible that listening to music helps organise the firing of nerve cells in the right half of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher functions.
How The App Works
Think Spotify for seniors, for want of a better explanation. Basically, Muru Music Health App works by using Artificial Intelligence to personalise the user’s playlist with the aim of slowing the effects of brain ageing via the power of music.
The tech platform has partnered with Universal Music Australia, which has given access to a comprehensive catalogue of music from all artists across all genres. There’s no need to upload ay songs – simply fill out some basic information about yourself, including the type of music you like, and the website does the rest for you, crafting a playlist around your tastes.
So, let’s say you’re a country fan. Pop some Lee Kernaghan in your preferences and your playlist will evolve around that vibe. More into pop? List a few Missy Higgins hits and it will collate more of the same for you. Over time, your suggested playlist will grow. You can choose to skip songs, or add more as you see fit, thus creating a perfectly tailored list of tunes that help keep the synapses firing.
Music For Mind Health … For Who?
Currently, the Muru-Universal collaboration is directing 5000 donated memberships to retirement village residents at Stockland and six others centres across the country. The aim is to get the playlists in the ears of those suffering dementia related illnesses and ignite happy memories, help them relax, reduce high blood pressure and stave off anxiety and depression and more. However, the app is available to anyone who wishes to sign up, in particular, those in the 60plus demographic who simply wish to wind down, relive positive experiences or get active while stimulating the brain and therefore enjoy longevity of brain health.