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the power of music
to awaken the brain. Music predates language. There's
something very primal about music.

JONICA NEWBY: If you had to make
a playlist of your life, what would be on it? # ABBA: Mamma Mia The music of your childhood? The backbeats of your teens. The music that always makes you cry. # RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS:
Unchained Melody Or fills you with joy. # THE BEACH BOYS: God Only Knows And if, toward the end of your life, your mind and memories
were fading away, would this soundtrack
help bring them back?

In this episode, we're going to show
you a remarkable program that is bringing personalised music
to people with dementia... Everybody, up. ..waking up their inner lives. I was stunned at the conversation
that she had post the music. And even helping people
with advanced Parkinson's to unfreeze and move. And along the way,
we'll look more deeply at the power of music
in all our lives. Why is it so emotional, so memorable and so powerful that even when
much of the brain is gone, music can bring it alive?

This is Leigh Place Aged Care Home,
and this is John.

He used to be in the Navy, but he doesn't remember
much of that now. Or much of anything.

But next door,
a prescription is being prepared they hope will peel back
the dementia fog. WOMAN: So, we've got
John's playlist... Only it's not a pill, it's an iPod with a tailor-made playlist
just for him. Can I just pop these headphones
on you?Yeah. The residents are about to hear
some of their favourite music, and for some, it'll be the first time
they've heard it in years. Are you ready? # It's a long way to Tipperary # It's a long way to go... #
(Sings along)

The change is startling, instant. # To the sweetest girl I know... # This facility is one of the first
in Australia to take on a new program
of personalised music called Music & Memory, and for John,
it's clearly taking him back. # Tipperary
But my heart's right there. # You know what they call that song? Which song? This one just now? It's A Long Way To Tickle Mary. To Tickle Mary. (Laughs) Somehow it's like a side door
into the brain, and it just means that they can
come alive for that moment. ATTENDANT: When you were
in the ships, in the Navy, did you sing that song?
Yeah. And when those memories
come back flooding back, it's connecting them
with identity again. (Piano plays) Next, it's Mary's turn and her son, Doug, is visiting
specially to see what happens. Mum was a product of
the Hunter Valley, round Aberdeen. But you've got to say, you're not
my husband and I'm not your wife. That's right.You might have
been thinking that.Yeah. What relation am I to you? Well, I was just trying
to work it out.

Uh... (Chuckles)
You're not my father. No. I'm your son.

Oh, he's my son. (Laughs)

Isn't that awful?
Nah. No, that's just... that's life. It's the first time they're trying
the personal music with Mary, and Doug helped choose the playlist. # IRISH FOLK MUSIC I'm new to that too.

MARY: I love dancing.

Everybody up.

(Claps rhythmically)

The program is really new here, and the sheer emotional impact
is taking everyone by surprise.

Your turn! When I was watching Mum
react the way she did... looked like...

MARY: It's not easy, is it? ..Mum of old. (Sighs deeply)

I love dancing. I love running. What we find
is people with dementia, they start to withdraw
into themselves. So, what we're finding
with the Music & Memory program is the music allows them to
reconnect with their family member. It was good to hear you sing. That ability to reconnect
husbands with wives, sons and daughter with their mum
or dad is just a fantastic thing. It's very, very powerful. I'm having a real happy night. It's very happy, yeah. (Chuckles)
We've had to order more tissues in. # MARLENE DIETRICH: Lili Marlene

The idea of bringing personalised
music to people with dementia is spreading across the globe, and the person who's introducing it
to Australia is former nurse turned director
of the Arts Health Institute, Dr Maggie Haertsch. I think that music
is actually a human right. Music predates language. There's
something very primal about music. Now, if we're able to access
our music when we're growing up through the generations, why is that we can't get music
when we need it most? And now we absolutely need
to make sure that music, in this such a simple way, is able to be accessible
in healthcare environments. And the science is suggesting
there's more to it than just the emotional
feel-good factor. In its best study benefit, researchers from Stanford University,
California, have shown prescribed music
can reduce one of the more distressing aspects
of Alzheimer's - agitation - where confused, stressed individuals
act out or shout. Goodbye. It may even reduce the need
for antipsychotics, often prescribed for agitation. GRAHAM HOOPER: So, for example,
John - he has limited mobility, he shouldn't really be getting
out of his chair by himself. Sometimes, if he's agitated, he'll be trying up and down,
up and down out of the chair. So instead of the staff having
to constantly come over to John, reassure him,
ask him to sit down again, we can put the headphones on. He's relaxed, he's calm,
he's at peace. It's fantastic. Better than drugs.

So the right playlist can penetrate
even the thickest fog of dementia, which begs the question - how? (Hums)

The fact is music
does something to our brains no other stimulus can do. And here, at the Music, Sound
and Performance Lab, we're going to show you. The main thing
is to take off all the metal. We need to get all the metal
off your body. My examiners are
Professor Mark Williams and Professor Bill Thompson,
a world expert on music and emotions, as well as a composer himself. So, you've chosen a couple of pieces
of music to listen to. Do you want to say
anything about those? I've chosen a piece from The Mission
that I really love and another piece
by a group called Train. As far as we're aware,
this is the first time scientists have ever tried to show
real-time brain responses to favourite music in a
magnetoencephalography machine. So we're all a bit nervous
to see if it works.

The Mission Theme Music

As the music starts,
my mind is flooded with memories.

A Tuscan hillside, an old church, a moment shared with a loved one.

And with it comes
overwhelming emotion.

(Music continues)

OK... (Speaks indistinctly) # TRAIN: Hey, Soul Sister

Now, this piece
is completely different. It fills me with joy.
I'm struggling to stay still.

Pretty much she's blinking
a lot during the pauses. Many repeats later,
I'm finally released. Congratulations, you did it.
How was it? Bit shattered after that, actually.

So, here are the results,
which have been really exciting, 'cause we've got lots of activation
to each of the pieces. We've got these emotional areas here
in the front of the brain. The Mission piece is much more
involved in the emotion areas. We've also got a lot of activation
here on the temporal lobe, which is more
for memories of emotions, and the amygdala, which is involved in physiological responses
to emotion.Wow. But also a lot of motor areas. So these are the areas
involved in moving your hands. And the interesting thing is that
between the two different pieces, we got very different activations - one much more involved in emotions and one much more involved in
actually moving, so the motor areas. Wow, that's fantastic.
I could feel that. I'm amazed that you can actually
see that so clearly on the brain. Yeah, and it's very strong.

This is what we were hoping to see. It shows what's unique
about music in the brain. It's embedded nearly everywhere, from emotional centres
to memory centres to movement. And that helps explain why,
even when much of the brain is gone, music can wake it up. # SLOW, MELANCHOLY TUNE

It's like a superstimulus. So much of your brain is involved that I think that that means
that there is more opportunity for the effects of music to be
preserved in the face of damage. So that's why music is so powerful. But I want to know,
why is it so emotional?

And why does some music conjure joy
and others make us cry?

The piece from The Mission
is a really powerful piece, and I think there's a lot
going on there. I think the oboe has a kind of
voice-like quality, a crying voice,
a sad and melancholy vocalisation.

And you have empathy for that kind
of yearning sound of the melody. The other aspect of The Mission
is it's quite a slow tempo, so it's got a lot of the qualities that would generate a kind of sad
or calm feeling. # ENNIO MORRICONE:
The Mission Theme Music

Slow music calms our physiology down. # TRAIN: Hey, Soul Sister Faster music invites it to speed up, which is why so many of us
use it for exercise.

BILL THOMPSON: In the music, Train,
it's much faster. The motor cortex is engaged heavily. You might be tapping along to the
music, so you're literally moving. Your breathing is faster,
your heart rate increases and, thereby, increase your
arousal levels and your energy.

The high pitch of the ukulele
adds joy. BILL THOMPSON: It sounds cute. There's something about instruments
that sound cute that make us happy. It's like a little puppy sound. (Whimpering) So one of the ways music
arouses our emotions is to tap into deeply
hardwired responses to certain vocalisations. (Neighing) Across the animal kingdom, alert calls tend to be
high-pitched, loud and fast. (Drumming, neighing) (Barking) Calming signals are
lower-pitched, soft and slow. (Gentle harp music, soft whinny) The sounds convey the mood, and in humans, these basic tropes have become an entire
sophisticated language of emotion. Many people believe,
myself included, that music evolved
from an earlier system that was just largely an emotional
form of communication, an emotional protolanguage. (Baby cries) To get a glimpse of what that early
protolanguage might have been like, you only have to look here. WOMAN: Where's Ivy? There she is. At how a mother talks with her baby. (Woman makes baby sounds) When infants are prelinguistic, all they have is your tone of voice.

So pitch is used much more
in early speech.

So, back in prehistory,
at some point, this protolanguage split
into language, which carried more information... # Ta-ta-ta-ta-da... # ..and music, which continued to carry
the messages of emotion. # The Last Post

That is the deep reason music
remains so viscerally emotional.

But there's another role that music
played in our evolutionary past, a role without which we may not even
have evolved into humans.

It's all about bonding. # UPBEAT GOSPEL MUSIC (Party chatter) We need about a mil of spit. These saliva samples are so that
we can test levels of oxytocin.

Oxytocin is known
as the cuddle chemical. It's the bonding hormone, the one that's released when we
interact with our loved ones.

So what produces more of this
highly-specific bonding chemical - milling around with friends
or singing together? # BEETHOVEN: Ode To Joy

We're recreating a German study
that was published in 2014. It showed for the first time
that singing together nearly doubled the oxytocin released
as just interacting with friends. And our little test was similar. I was very impressed with the amount
that it went up. The levels that we achieved
were the same as the European study in the after samples. It's just one of a series of studies
since 2010 that have shown a powerful
physiological effect of music on social bonding. (Singing continues)

Taken together,
these studies have convinced one of the world's
foremost evolutionary biologists that without music, we never
would have become human at all. Music, really, in many ways
is just fundamental to our ability to hold together
large communities of individuals.

Our pre-human ancestors
bonded their group by grooming, which releases
endorphins and oxytocin, hormonally cementing social bonds.

But there are only so many monkeys
you can groom in a day. To reach the large group size
that made humanity so successful, we needed to evolve something bigger,
something better, something that would create
bonding oxytocin on a mass scale. And that,
according to Professor Dunbar, 5,000 years ago was music. HANDEL: # Hallelujah Chorus

It means you can groom with lots
of individuals simultaneously. In fact, probably
it's almost unlimited, the number of individuals
you can have in a singing group
or a dancing group. Music is absolutely pivotal
in the course of human evolution.

So music evolved as a means
of sharing emotions and forging powerful social bonds. But, of course, you can't talk about
music's impact on our brains without also talking about movement. # UPBEAT CALYPSO MUSIC

From just as soon as we can move,
we want to move to music. It's irresistible, it's innate, we pick up the rhythm
and run with it. And it's an ability
that simply doesn't exist in even our closest animal relatives.

In this experiment,
monkeys are trained to tap to a beat, and it's not easy for them. This monkey took a year to learn
to tap in time with his hand. But look more closely
at what he's doing. He not actually tapping on the beat, he's tapping fractionally after. He's using the sound as a cue and as soon as it stops, he stops. Compare that with what we humans do. OK, I would like to try now
a little experiment. So we're going to play
a couple of bars of music. Just click your fingers
whenever you think you should. You ready?
(Short bursts of music) (Fingers snap)

We take this ability for granted, but what just happened
is extraordinary. Within two bars,
everyone was on beat. But what's more incredible
is that these two beats aren't even being played
in the music. The only place we can hear
those missing beats is in our heads. (Music plays, fingers snap) I think the point is made. (Laughter) What we do is called entrainment. Our brains pick up on that beat
instantly, and then we hold it in mind, so that we have the beat
going in our mind, and then we are able to synchronise
our movements to that beat.

Neuroscientist and pianist
Professor Jessica Grahn has made it her life's work to
understand why music and movement are connected in the brain. If we think about the conditions
that had to have existed when music evolved, there were no phones,
there were no walkmans, there were no record players. If you wanted music,
you had to make it yourself, and there was no way to make music
without moving. (Drumming) Our brains even adapt
the rhythm of our brainwaves to the rhythm of the beat. # UPBEAT PERCUSSIONS We used EEG, electroencephalography,
to record the firing and the responses of neurons. You can see
that they are firing and pulsing in exactly the same way that the music that someone
is listening to is. Even more interestingly,
you can actually see that two people playing the same music
often show some synchrony between their brainwaves.

So as we evolved
from primate to human, there was a fundamental change
in our brains that made us musical. As well as rejigging
our emotional centres, it involved rejigging
our motor systems. And that is why music is now
being used to do something almost beyond belief - helping people
who are freezing in space to unfreeze and move.

John has Parkinson's. It's an insidious disease
that attacks the parts of the brain that allow movement. In my case I have this shuffle
where I start to... I start to walk too fast
and I can't sort of stop myself.

And so I have to be very careful, well, not to do a face plant,

Here, at the Human Movement Lab, Professor Meg Morris has spent years
analysing these movement problems and trying to find a way to help. For reasons unknown, there's a lack
of dopamine in the brain. And dopamine
normally allows movements to be performed large and fast, and balance is affected as well. So, what John has, you can see
here, is a freezing of gait and the feet
are sticking to the floor.

But watch what happens
when we start the music. # WALTZ MUSIC

It's beautiful to watch.
It is, it's so beautiful. And for a person who was shuffling
and blocking and freezing, to be moving like that...

So, what we think music does is to
bypass a defective basal ganglia to activate what's trapped inside. So the music provides
an external rhythm to compensate for the defective
rhythm inside the brain. Meg has been a pioneer
of this therapy, and it's incredible to watch. I see people who never get a break
from feeling trapped by their inability to control
their own body's movement until the music comes in. # SLOW TANGO

And the movement begins to flow and, with joy, they can dance.

If you can give a person
with Parkinson's joy, that's a gift. So music is hardwired
to make us move, to make us feel, but why is it also
such a powerful evoker of memories? ALL: # Happy birthday to you # Happy birthday... # Part of it is sheer repetition. BILL THOMPSON: Not only
do we hear it verbatim, over and over and over again in a way that's unique
and doesn't happen with speech, but we also imagine music, so we hear it in our heads and sometimes music can even
get stuck in our heads. For those reasons it becomes deeply
ingrained or tattooed into the mind. But music doesn't just groove itself
easily into our memories, it carries other memories with it.

Shane was severely brain-injured
in a bike accident. He's had an amazing recovery,
but four years ago, when neuropsychologist
Dr Amee Baird met him, he was struggling
to speak, move or remember. # BEYONCE: Irreplaceable

Music helped give him his past.

Alright, what about that one?
Is that familiar? That is, it really is. My sister, reminds me of my sister.
She's always listening to that song. Shane was part of a study to see
if music could evoke memories even with people
with a severe brain injury, and, surprisingly, they did as well
as the healthy people. AMEE BAIRD: The other really
interesting finding was that when we compared asking a question, like, 'Can you tell me a memory
from your school days?' versus playing them a song
from their school days, the songs were much more efficient at bringing to mind
personal memories.

So why is music so much more potent
than words at evoking memories?

Well, as we saw during my musical
journey inside the MEG machine, unlike any other stimulus,
it arouses most of the brain. But in particular,
it all comes back to our emotions and how emotion and memory
are intertwined.

I think that is why music
is so powerful because it activates both
the memories and emotions simultaneously almost.

And, of course, that is why
everyone's favourite music is so deeply personal. It's a deeply grooved record
of the times that mattered to us and the people we have loved.

This is the Redleaf Manor
Aged Care Home.

It's just taken on
the Music & Memory Project. They've spent weeks preparing
some personalised playlists, and it's finally time to try them. This is the first day
for Music & Memory. So I'm really excited to see
what actually will happen. First is Betty,
who's developed advanced dementia. Comfortable for you?
Yes. To her family's sadness, Betty now
holds little of who she was.

She's become very confused
and withdrawn. She rarely smiles
or shows any emotion at all, until right now. # And Did Those Feet
In Ancient Times # ..mountains green # The holy Lamb of God # On England's
pleasant pastures... # I was stunned at the conversation
that she had post the music. So it was actually
a coherent conversation. It wasn't muddled and that's...
I didn't expect that to happen. # And was Jerusalem
builded here... # They bring home a... a feeling of...


(Man speaks indistinctly)

I can't say anymore,
otherwise I'll burst out crying.

ERIN SHARP: Even though Betty
was crying, I think she was crying
because she was...

..she felt herself.

And if this program can do that, isn't that a great link to... past, but still capturing
the essence of the person?

(Sniffles) Anyway,
I'll stop being stupid now. WOMAN 1: You're not stupid.
Not at all. WOMAN 2: Music is emotional.
And I think...

..the more you love the music,
the more you'll have the feeling.

It seems such an obvious thing - after a life surrounded
by our favourite music, why would we not want that
to continue as long as possible? I'm happy.

Music is the soundtrack to our lives. # There's such a lot of world... #
(Whistles along) # see... #

# We're after #
(Whistles) # The same rainbows... #

Next time on Catalyst - how household microplastics
affect marine life and us, and geology finds Tasmania
has more to do with North America than mainland Australia. Captions by CSI Australia This program is not captioned.