PARK CITY, United States - It won't cure dementia or Alzheimer's disease, but music can nevertheless help sufferers "wake up" their memories, reveals a moving documentary presented at the Sundance Film Festival.
"Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory," the debut feature film by Michael Rossato-Bennett, follows the efforts of one man to convince Americans of the benefits of music on people with dementia or Alzheimer's.
Dan Cohen, founder of the non-profit organisation Memory and Music, arms himself with headphones and music players as he shows -- to the surprise of care-givers -- how patients locked in silence and lost in the maze of dementia seem to find some memories and feelings when they hear the music they love.
With the cameras watching on, many patients begin to talk, smile, sing and even dance, as their families look on stunned.
"It's not a cure," stressed Rossato-Bennett, whose film went on show at the independent film festival in Utah, the United States, at the weekend.
"And there is no way to get (back) these memory cells that have been destroyed."
But he says music has the ability to penetrate into the recesses of the brain less affected by dementia, which affects five million Americans.
Cohen's vision when he founded Memory and Music was a simple one: to bring a better quality of life to the elderly through music.