Science agrees: music is good for health – health

Music not only softens morale, it is also a powerful ally for our health. Listening and practicing the Fourth Art not only improves our mental well-being, but also our cerebral plasticity and cognitive abilities. decryption.

Nobody (or almost) is impervious to the power of music. When tastes vary, the fourth art touches us deep in our hearts… and our brains. Because of this Listening to and practicing music are increasingly being advocated by the medical community. And that from an early age. Studies have shown that music acts as a neurostimulant on babies, especially premature babies.

Swiss researchers at Geneva University Hospital have found that music promotes the development of sensory and cognitive functions in these newborns. To arrive at this result, the scientists commissioned composer Andreas Vollenweider to create three melodies to accompany infants waking up, waking up and falling asleep. They found that babies exposed to these songs had neural networks that developed more efficiently than those of other preterm infants.

The influence of music on the cognitive and executive functions of our brain no longer needs to be proven, especially in children. This is shown by current findings The fourth art changes the biochemical processes of the brain by improving the plasticity of the brain. This would explain why it has positive effects on the intellectual development of young children.

The work of Christina Zhao and Patricia Kuhl, two researchers at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, confirmed this back in 2016. They found, supported by medical neuroimaging, that listening to music affects the development of language learning skills Babies. “We know that babies learn quickly from a variety of experiences, and we believe that music can be an important experience that can affect their brain development,” Christina Zhao told CBS News at the time.

Making music, “a complete prompting of the brain”

This positive effect on brain plasticity extends throughout childhood and adult life. Thus, practicing an instrument would allow one to develop his intelligence quotient (IQ) faster. A team of researchers led by experts from the Stanford University School of Medicine examined the cognitive functions of 153 musicians and non-musicians. She observed a significant difference in the brain structure of musicians who started playing any instrument early, be it the piano, clarinet, trumpet or violin. The latter have stronger brain connections than those who started music training late.

For Anita Collins, a researcher specializing in brain development and music learning, playing an instrument is “a complete workout for the brain.” “Listening to music keeps the brain busy with all sorts of interesting activities, but playing music keeps the brain busy.‘ she explained in a 2014 Ted Talk presentation. “Playing an instrument engages almost all areas of the brain simultaneously, specifically the visual cortex, auditory cortex, and motor cortex. And as with any exercise, methodical and structured practice strengthens these brain functions and allows us to apply that strength to other activities.”

One thing is for sure, the more you practice an instrument, the more you will benefit from these effects. But listening to music can also bring many benefits. First to mood regulation. Cognitive neuroscience claims that music induces a sense of pleasure by activating our reward circuits. Created by natural selection to regulate our desires and emotions, this system increases the release of dopamine, the famous “happy hormone.” So much so that music is now used as a therapeutic tool in healthcare settings.

The persistence of musical memory

Music therapy has also proven itself in stress and pain therapy.. Music workshops are increasing to help people with Parkinson’s, epilepsy and even migraines. A team of French, German and American researchers conducted the experiment with around twenty migraine sufferers. They offered them to listen to music for 20 minutes twice a day for three months. Result: Your migraine attacks are drastically spread. Half of the study participants even stated that they had been halved.

The therapeutic virtues of music don’t stop there. Much work indicates that the Fourth Art stimulates almost all forms of memory, including in the elderly.. Hervé Platel, Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Caen, is one of the first researchers to observe the persistence of musical memory in the 1990s. He discovered that patients with Alzheimer’s disease manage to learn new songs in a matter of weeks, even though we thought their memory skills had been lost. And that too at an advanced stage of the disease.

But despite all this, can we say that music preserves brain aging? Researchers remain cautious on the matter. However, they agree on one point: Listening to music, singing or playing an instrument at any age has numerous benefits for the overall cognitive function of the brain. One more reason to take advantage of the Fête de la Musique on June 21st.

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