Learn­ing with mu­sic can change brain’s struc­ture, study shows

The Scotsman - - Around Scotland - By SHAN ROSS

Us­ing mu­sic to help learn a phys­i­cal task can sig­nif­i­cantly de­velop an im­por­tant part of the brain, a study says.

People prac­tis­ing a ba­sic move­ment task to mu­sic showed in­creased struc­tural con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween re­gions of the brain pro­cess­ing sound and con­trol move­ment.

The Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity re­search, the first show­ing mu­sic cues help learn­ing mo­tor neu­rone chal­lenges, re­vealed how brain wiring en­ables cells to com­mu­ni­cate with each other.

Ex­perts said the study could have pos­i­tive im­pli­ca­tions for re­search into re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing pa­tients who have lost some move­ment con­trol. They hope re­search will de­ter­mine if mu­sic helps with re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing stroke vic­tims.

One group of right-handed vol­un­teers un­der­took a task with mu­si­cal cues, a se­cond group with­out. MRI scans showed a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in struc­tural con­nec­tiv­ity in the first group.

Dr Katie Overy, re­search team leader, said: “The study sug­gests mu­sic makes a key dif­fer­ence. We have long known mu­sic en­cour­ages people to move.

“This study pro­vides the first ex­per­i­men­tal ev­i­dence adding mu­si­cal cues to learn­ing new mo­tor task can lead to changes in white mat­ter struc­ture in the brain.”

Re­sults are pub­lished in the jour­nal Brain and Cog­ni­tion.

0 Dr Katie Overy: ‘Study shows mu­sic makes a key dif­fer­ence’

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