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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Research shows performing arts helps people with dementia

Published: 29 April 2016
Arts and Dementia

The worlds of neuroscience and the performing arts are coming together for a unique event to share the latest research on dementia. Arts and Dementia will showcase the parallels found between research carried out at the University of Winchester and the University of Southampton that is helping to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 850,000 people in the UK alone, posing an incredible burden on the patients, carers and the NHS. There is no cure and with life expectancy increasing, the number of cases is set to rise. Now links have been found between arts and science research in the study of dementia interventions.

One of the major features of Alzheimer’s disease is the buildup of toxins in the brain. Researchers at the University of Southampton have found that increasing the activity of the brain can help patients as more blood flows to the diseased areas. These activities are also good for the wellbeing of carers.

Meanwhile, performers and researchers at the University of Winchester Centre for Arts as Wellbeing have been exploring the effects of a variety of arts on people with dementia.

The project began five years ago with the formation of the Singing for Wellbeing Choir for those with memory loss, based at the United Church in Jewry Street, Winchester. Since then new research projects have been developed for care homes and hospitals using music and songs, movement, poetry and theatre.

David Walters, Head of the Centre for the Arts as Wellbeing, said: “There is emerging evidence that shows the arts can bring real benefits to help communication and connection between care staff and dementia patients. The separation between science and the arts is increasingly challenged by artists and scientists alike, with many scientists and doctors engaging with the arts for both inspiration and insight into their own work.

“The arts can offer a new lens through which to examine scientific processes and also add a human side to an increasingly mechanistic view of health.” The Arts and Dementia seminar will hear from researchers from both Universities. There will also be interviews with patients and performances.

Arts and Dementia will take place as part of Research and Engagement Week 2016, from 12pm until 4pm on Friday 29 April at The Chapel, King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR.

A link to the event and ticketing can be found here:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/ifls/news/events/2016/04/29-arts-dementia.page

 

 

 

 

 

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