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Music can keep brain sharp into old age

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Lawrence, Kan. (UPI) Apr 20, 2011
Music lessons in childhood may keep people's brains sharper as they age even if they don't keep up with playing an instrument, U.S. researchers say.

"Musical activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of aging," said lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy of the University of Kansas. "Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older."

While considerable research has been conducted on the cognitive benefits of musical activity in children, this is the first study to examine whether those benefits can extend across a lifetime, Hanna-Pladdy said.

In the study, 70 healthy adults age 60 to 83 were divided into groups based on their levels of musical experience.

The researchers found those with some musical instruction in their history performed better on several cognitive tests than individuals who had never studied an instrument or learned how to read music.

The research findings were published in the American Psychological Association's journal Neuropsychology.




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Missing The Gorilla
Salt Lake City UT (SPX) Apr 20, 2011
University of Utah psychologists have learned why many people experience "inattention blindness" - the phenomenon that leaves drivers on cell phones prone to traffic accidents and makes a gorilla invisible to viewers of a famous video. The answer: People who fail to see something right in front of them while they are focusing on something else have lower "working memory capacity" - a measu ... read more

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