Pebble Beach, CA Musicians Brains May Be Aging More Gracefully Than The Rest Of Usby Richard Kuehn on 06/27/12
There was an interesting study released this week by Northwestern University which found that the brains of musicians typically age less quickly than non musicians. Researchers in the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern measured the automatic brain responses to speech sounds of younger and older musicians as well as non musicians. Researchers found that older musicians had a distinct advantage and concluded that age-related delays in neural timing are not inevitable. "The older musicians not only outperformed their older non-musician counterparts, they encoded the sound stimuli as quickly and accurately as the younger non-musicians," neuroscientist Nina Kraus told the Monterey Herald. "This reinforces the idea that how we actively experience sound over the course of our lives has a profound effect on how our nervous system functions," she said. Other studies have shown the positive impact playing familiar music can have on Alzheimer's patients. My grandmother had Alzheimer's, and although she lost many of her favorite memories, I would often hear her humming an old familiar tune. It's good to see that researchers are finding things we can do to stave off some of the aging of the brain.