Music Lessons in Youth Boost Mental Health for Seniors

Friday, 22 April 2011 08:50 AM

All those hours of tedious piano practice as a child pay off in later years, a new study has found.

Adults who learned an instrument in their pre-teen years tend to be sharper as they grow older, according to a report in London’s Daily Mail.

“Musical activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of ageing,” said researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy.

The study found that skills that are diminished by conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are likely to remain longer among people who learned the piano, flute, clarinet, or other instruments.

“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,” said Hanna-Pladdy.

In the study, conducted by the University of Kansas Medical Center, a group of people over age 60 was tested on several cognitive skills. Those with musical experience fared better — and the longer they had played the better they did.

Hanna-Pladdy said the younger the musicians started on their instrument was also important. “There are crucial periods in brain plasticity that enhance learning, which may make it easier to learn a musical instrument before a certain age and thus may have a larger impact on brain development.”

To read the full Daily Mail report,Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

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Friday, 22 April 2011 08:50 AM
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