Presentation by Dr. Lise Gagnon
Music and dementia: from perception to intervention
Abstract: This presentation deals with the fundamental questions underlying the growing interest in music therapy for demented patients. Today, 1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT) or a related dementia. DAT initially affects the temporal lobes and, consequently, the short- and long-term explicit memory. In most cases, it leaves procedural memory intact until late stages of the illness. Since the sophisticated music-processing system is largely acquired implicitly by experience, we will begin by hypothesizing, using a single case study, that music perceptual and incidental memory may remain intact in early DAT. Unfortunately, DAT also damages certain cerebral structures that subsume emotional processing, and some studies have demonstrated deficits affecting emotional judgment of facial expression and prosody in DAT. Accordingly, through the presentation of a group study, we will address the question of whether early DAT might also affect music emotional judgment.
Bio: Dr. Lise Gagnon completed an undergraduate degree in music at McGill University before earning a Ph.D. in neuropsychology at the University of Montreal. She then spent ten years as a neuropsychologist with the University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke. At the same time, she began working as a researcher at the Research Center on Aging. Since 2004, she has taught clinical psychology at the University of Sherbrooke and pursued her work at the Research Center on Aging.