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Jornal Brasileiro de Psiquiatria

versão impressa ISSN 0047-2085versão On-line ISSN 1982-0208


ALEIXO, Mariângela Aparecida Rezende; SANTOS, Raquel Luiza  e  DOURADO, Marcia Cristina do Nascimento. Efficacy of music therapy in the neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia: systematic review. J. bras. psiquiatr. [online]. 2017, vol.66, n.1, pp.52-61. ISSN 1982-0208.


A large number of psychosocial interventions in dementia are based on music activities and music therapy interventions. We aim at assessing the efficacy of music therapy in the neuropsychiatric symptoms of people with dementia.


This systematic review is according to the methodology suggested by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. We searched for articles in PubMed, Web of Knowledge Cross Search, Cochrane Library, Scopus and Lilacs/Bireme databases published from 2005 to 2016. The search keywords included “early onset” and “late onset” combined with “dementia”, “Alzheimer”, “vascular dementia”, “mixed dementia”, “frontotemporal dementia”, “neuropsychiatric symptoms”, “behavioral disturbances”, “behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia” and “music therapy”. The studies were categorized according to its efficacy on the decline of neuropsychiatric symptoms and improvement of cognitive function, quality of life and well-being.


We selected 12 out of 257 papers. Music therapy interventions were applied individually or in group setting, using active or receptive technique. In general, studies indicated the efficacy of music therapy on the decline of depression, agitation and anxiety. There were heterogeneity of interventions, methodological design and instruments of evaluation among the studies.


Although there are reports of the efficacy of music therapy on the decline of neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia, the area still needs randomized studies aimed at the solution of important methodological problems like the lack of standardized approaches.

Palavras-chave : Music therapy; dementia; neuropsychiatric symptoms.

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