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MUSIC AND THE BRAIN

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Music has healing power,” Elton John once said, and recent research confirms this. Although aging and cognitive decline are affected by a wide variety of factors, music may be one factor that enhances cognition. A new study looked at the impact musical practice has on neurocognitive aging.

The paper was a systematic meta-analysis of studies dealing with the effects of music practice on people 59 or older with no cognitive impairment or brain damage. The analysis included nine correlational studies that looked at musicians and non-musicians, and four experimental studies that looked at short-term musical training programs. The results showed benefits to auditory perception and other general cognitive functions. The researchers concluded, “…musical practice seems to be a promising tool to reduce the cognitive problems associated to aging.”

Even listening to music has benefits to stroke patients. Research appearing in  Expert Rev Neurother. looked at five studies, involving 169 subjects, plus four ongoing trials. While too soon to make a blanket recommendation for listening to music post stroke, the authors stated, “Accepting these caveats, music listening may have beneficial effects on both mood and cognition and we await the results of ongoing controlled studies.”

Turn up your tunes!

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