Culture and Health

Playing a Musical Instrument as a Protective Factor against Dementia and Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Twin Study

Increasing evidence shows that playing a musical instrument at a young age may benefit biological, social and cognitive development. A co-twin controlled study in Sweden showed an association between playing a musical instrument and the development of dementia and/or cognitive decline. Dementia diagnoses were based on a complete clinical workup. Among 157 couples discordant for dementia and cognitive decline, 27 couples were also discordant for playing a musical instrument, indicating that musical practice was significantly associated with less likelihood of cognitive impairment. These findings support further consideration of music as a protective factor against dementia.