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Multisensory Stimulation and Individualized Music Sessions on Older Adults with Severe Dementia: Effects on Mood, Behavior, and Biomedical Parameters

Contact Information


Jose Carlos Mill ´ an-Calenti,

Dementia, elderly, individualized music, randomized trial, Snoezelen


Background: Multisensory stimulation and individualized music have shown to be good in handling the psychological and behavioral symptoms in people with severe dementia. Objective: Explore the effects of two nonpharmacological interventions, multisensory stimulation environment (MSSE) in a Snoezelen room and individualized music sessions, on mood, behavior, and biomedical parameters of institutionalized elderly patients with severe dementia. Methods: Randomized trial of 21 patients aged ≥65 years randomly assigned to two groups (MSSE and individualized music). Interventions administered in two-weekly sessions lasted 30 minutes for a period of 12 weeks. Main outcomes were recorded before, during, and at the end of the intervention. Results: Both groups had immediate positive effects on mood and behavior. Participants were more happy/more content (p < 0.001), talked more spontaneously (p = 0.009), related to people better (p = 0.002), were more attentive to/focused on their environment (p < 0.001), enjoyed themselves (p = 0.003), were less bored/inactive (p = 0.004), and more relaxed/content (p = 0.003). The MSSE group performed a better visual follow-up of the stimuli (p = 0.044), and the music group were more relaxed and happy (p = 0.003). A decrease in heart rate (p = 0.013) and an increase in oxygen saturation (p = 0.011) were observed from before to after interventions in both groups, with no significant differences between them. Conclusions: Both interventions seem to be effective at managing mood and behavioral disturbances in the short term and at improving physiological rates, highlighting the efficacy of nonpharmacological treatments in patients with severe dementia.


Maseda, A., Cibeira, N., Lorenzo-López, L., González-Abraldes, I., Buján, A., de Labra, C., & Millán-Calenti, J. C. (2018). Multisensory Stimulation and Individualized Music Sessions on Older Adults with Severe Dementia: Effects on Mood, Behavior, and Biomedical Parameters. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD, 63(4), 1415–1425.





Conent Area

Ana Maseda

EWB-Related Construct

(3) Positive Affect

Study Design

Species or Study Population

(5) RCT

Sex (%Female)


Age (Mean, SD)

88.9, 6.69

Younger Controls?


Longitudinal Data?


Sample Size



two nonpharmacological interventions
1. multisensory stimulation environment (MSSE) in a Snoezelen room
2. individualized music sessions

Ethnicity (%white)

none stated (Spain)

Inclusion Criteria

(1) having a diagnosis of dementia and the presence of severe or very severe cognitive decline (Global Deterioration Scale [33], GDS 6-7).

Exclusion Criteria

the presence of hearing impairment or other sensory disorder that would adversely affect interactions with the multisensory stimulation objects (e.g., severe vision impairment) and be bedridden

EWB Measures

Interact scale (mood and behavior)

Non-EWB Behavioral

Interact scale

Physiological Measures

(1) autonomic nervous system

Brain IMaging Modality

Brain IMaging Paradigm


Brain Region/Circuit


Biological Measures


Other Neural Measures

Data Availability?


Data Avalability Details


Diagnostic Measures

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