Are flats and sharps the keys to mental sharpness? Preliminary research now links music lessons in childhood to greater mental acuity decades down the road.
For a study published in the journal Neuropsychology, researchers recruited 70 healthy adults between 60 and 83 years of age and divided them into three groups based upon the extent of their musical background. Those who had studied an instrument or learned how to read music performed better on cognitive tests than those with no musical background.
“Musical activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of aging,” lead researcher Dr. Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, a clinical neuropsychologist at Emory University, said in a written statement. “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.”
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