Listen: Muireann Irish in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
After seeing the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease on her grandmother, Associate Professor Muireann Irish from the University of Sydney developed a passion to explore the links between brain response and music for patients of dementia.
Music takes us back in time
Memory and music are intimately connected. A piece of music can suddenly transport us back in time to relive defining events from our past, strengthening our sense of self and connection to others.
Loss of memory represents one of the most devastating symptoms of dementia, yet mounting evidence suggests that musical abilities and memory for musical pieces may be preserved in these syndromes.
Dementia and music
Professor Muireann Irish talked to Open House to explain how the brain responds to music, giving rise to such powerful effects even in the face of advancing pathology. How can we harness music to improve wellbeing and quality of life for those affected by dementia?
Improving quality of life
Motivated by her grandmother’s experience with Alzheimer’s Disease, Associate Professor Muireann Irish, an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the Brain and Mind Centre at The University of Sydney, has dedicated her research career to exploring the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying memory loss in dementia, with a view to uncovering how we can intervene effectively to improve wellbeing and quality of life.
The quality of Muireann’s work has been recognised in numerous awards and accolades including the 2016 NSW Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering Early Career Researcher of the Year, and the 2017 Lorealal-UNESCO International Rising Talent Award.