Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)


School of Nursing


Erika Metzler-Sawin

Carolyn Schubert

Christine Argenbright


Currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has become the most prevalent form of dementia, a term commonly associated with memory loss and other progressive cognitive deficits that compromise patients’ lives. What may begin as a mindlessly misplaced object or momentary inability to recall newly learned information will eventually advance to a loss of personal identity, forgotten loved ones, and utter misperception of reality. Although a cure for AD has yet to be discovered, there are several non-pharmacological treatments that can improve patients’ quality of life and provide temporary relief from the disabling manifestations, one of which is music therapy, the topic of this literature review. Music can be deeply connected with emotional processing and memory recall, and, when utilized as an interventional therapy for AD patients, can yield numerous cognitive and behavioral symptomatic benefits. The purpose of this project is to conduct a systematic literature review that evaluates the therapeutic relationship between AD and music therapy with a narrowed focus on familiar music therapy, the potential mechanisms of action that explain the efficacy of this intervention, and the resulting nursing implications that may be utilized in practice.



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