Friday, August 26, 2011

Rock of ages: Music helps keep brain young

Credit: iStockphoto/LindaYolanda

Senior citizens who took music lessons as children for at least 10 years score higher on tests of memory and decision-making ability than non-musicians. In the video below, NBC Chicago reports on the findings by Emory neuropsychologist Brenda Hanna-Pladdy and the University of Kansas.

“It’s conceivable,” Hanna-Pladdy says, “that music activity creates cognitive reserves that may delay the presentation of dementia symptoms.”

Much research has been done to determine the cognitive benefits of musical activity by children. Hanna-Pladdy’s study, published by Neuropsychology in April, was the first to look at whether those benefits extend across a lifetime.

The earlier children undertake music training, the better, in terms of predicting their cognitive function in advanced age.

Another recent study, at Northwestern, shows that older adult musicians who began lessons as children have better hearing.

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