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If you have a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological diseases, buy him or her an iPod or a new CD this holiday season.

Not only is listening to a favorite album a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, studies show that music can help stimulate inactive areas of the brain. This stimulation can arouse old memories, evoke untapped emotions, and even improve cognitive functioning.

The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function is a nonprofit organization founded at Beth Abraham Health Services in the Bronx. This nonprofit brings music to individuals with Alzheimer’s by delivering iPods with customized playlists to their homes.

The Institute also conducts studies on the effects of music therapy on Alzheimer’s patients, and the growing evidence shows profound benefits of listening to old favorites on neurological, physical and emotional functioning.

Caregivers and family members can provide a multitude of benefits to their loved ones with dementia by listening to music with them. The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function provides suggested songs on its website, so visit http://www.imnf.org to get some recommendations for a holiday playlist and to learn more about this important organization.

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