Musical dual-task training in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia: A randomized controlled trial

Yu Ling Chen, Yu Cheng Pei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background/aims: Dual-task training may improve dual-task gait performance, balance, and cognition in older adults with and without cognitive impairment. Although music has been widely utilized in dementia management, there are no existing protocols for music-based dual-task training. This randomized controlled study developed a Musical Dual-Task Training (MDTT) protocol that patients with dementia can use to practice walking and making music simultaneously, to enhance attention control in patients during dual-tasking. Methods: Twenty-eight adults diagnosed with mild-to-moderate dementia were assigned to the MDTT (n=15) or control groups (n=13). The MDTT group received MDTT, while the control group participated in non-musical cognitive and walking activities. The effects of MDTT were evaluated through the primary outcome of attention control, and secondary outcomes of dual-task performance, balance, falls efficacy, and agitation. Results: The MDTT group showed a significant improvement in attention control, while the control group did not (P<0.001). A significant effect favored MDTT over control treatment for the secondary outcome of falls efficacy (P=0.02) and agitation (P<0.01). Conclusion: MDTT, a music therapy intervention that demands a high level of cognitive processing, enhances attention control, falls efficacy, and helps alleviate agitation in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1393
Number of pages13
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
StatePublished - 30 05 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Chen and Pei.


  • Agitation
  • Attention
  • Dementia
  • Incidental falls
  • Music therapy


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