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To protect your brain, play a musical instrument

A musical instrument helps in protecting the brain, according to a new study. Photo Credit: Baycrest Health Services

By Excel Dyquiangco

Music has always been an integral part of anyone’s life. But do you know that playing sounds and rhythms can help older people retain their listening and cognitive skills?

In a recent study by Baycrest Health Sciences published in the Journal of Neurosciences, researchers have found out that playing music can actually rewire your brain by improving a person’s hearing and listening skills over time.

This discovery can compensate for injuries and other diseases as well.

“Music has been known to have beneficial effects on the brain, but there has been limited understanding into what about music makes a difference,” Dr. Bernhard Ross, senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and senior author on the study, said. “This is the first study demonstrating that learning the fine movement needed to reproduce a sound on an instrument changes the brain’s perception of sound in a way that is not seen when listening to music.”

The study supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research used 32 young and health people who have no trouble hearing and were asked to listen to a certain type of music.

After listening to the recording, they are asked to recreate it by pressing a key on a computer pad.

This test is set to prove that music can help rehabilitate stroke patients into recovery and the next steps analyze the link between recovering stroke patients and music.

“It has been hypothesized that the act of playing music requires many brain systems to work together, such as the hearing, motor and perception systems,” said Dr. Ross, who is also a medical biophysics professor at the University of Toronto. “This study was the first time we saw direct changes in the brain after one session, demonstrating that the action of creating music leads to a strong change in brain activity.”

With more funding, it is hoped that this study can develop musical training in other kids for the rehabilitation of diseases and illnesses like traumatic brain injury.

About Wired Correspondence (172 Articles)
WIRED CORRESPONDENCE is an online newsmagazine managed by freelance journalists and editors. This is our attempt to break into online journalism, initially covering general news around the world. Our main focus in the near future, however, is to report under-covered or under-reported social issues in narrative, long-form journalism. We aim to help through storytelling.

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