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Menopausal Mother Nature

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The challenges and promises of climate lawsuits

Enlarge / Shareholders of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), join a demonstration against the central bank’s investments in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), ahead of the annual general meeting in Bern, Switzerland, on Friday, April 28, 2023. Bloomberg…

Practicing and Listening to Music Can Slow Cognitive Decline in Healthy Seniors by Producing More Gray Matter

Released by University of Geneva © UNIGE – Damien Marie

Listening to music or playing an instrument can delay cognitive decline as we age—by producing gray matter in the brain—a new study shows.

The researchers followed over 100 retired people who had never practiced music before. They were enrolled in piano and music awareness training for six months, which when finished resulted in an increase in working memory performance by 6% and a total reduction in gray matter loss in the piano playing group.

Taken altogether, the scientists believe that while musical interventions cannot rejuvenate the brain, they can prevent aging in specific regions, specifically in people with no musical background who start playing in their senior years.

As the brain ages, it loses a trait that everybody who wants to understand a little about their own neurology should remember—neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the measurement of the brain’s ability to flex and work on different tasks by enhancing neuronal connections and creating new ones to suit new tasks.

Key among neuroplasticity is working memory, which describes the kind of mental effort needed to remember a whole phone number long enough to be able to reach the pen and paper to write it down, or translate a sentence from a foreign language.

A team from the University of Geneva wanted to see how much the musical domain could prevent this loss of working memory associated with age-related cognitive decline.

‘‘We wanted people whose brains did not yet show any traces of plasticity linked to musical learning. Indeed, even a brief learning experience in the course of one’s life can leave imprints on the brain, which would have biased our results’’, explains Damien Marie, first author of the study.

The participants were randomly assigned to two groups, regardless of their motivation to play an instrument. The second group had active listening lessons, which focused on instrument recognition and analysis of musical properties in a wide range of musical styles. The classes lasted one hour. Participants in both groups were required to do homework for half an hour a day.

MORE NEUROLOGY NEWS: Scientists Find Surge of Specific Brain Activity in Dying Patients that Could Help Explain Near-Death Experiences

‘‘After six months, we found common effects for both interventions. Neuroimaging revealed an increase in grey matter in four brain regions involved in high-level cognitive functioning in all participants, including cerebellum areas involved in working memory. Their performance increased by 6% and this result was directly correlated to the plasticity of the cerebellum,’’ says Clara James, another author of the study.

In blue, the areas affected by the increase in grey matter in the elderly as a result of music practice. Released by University of Geneva © UNIGE – Damien Marie

In the pianists, the volume of gray matter around the auditory cortex remained consistent; it didn’t shrink with age. For those in the musical analysis group, the gray matter did decrease at normal rates.

Also, a general pattern of brain atrophy was still observed in both groups, suggesting that complex interactions with music are limited in their effects on our most complex organ.

MORE MUSICAL SCIENCE: Revolutionary Music Therapy Helps Paralyzed Man Walk and Talk Again – It ‘Unlocked the Brain’

These results show that practicing and listening to music promotes brain plasticity and cognitive reserve. The authors of the study believe that these playful and accessible interventions should become a major policy priority for healthy aging.

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The post Old Friends Go On Adventure of a Lifetime: Around the World in 80 Days (LOOK) appeared first on Good News Network.

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Singapore Uses Bright Colored Signs to Created a Dementia-Friendly Neighborhood – LOOK

In keeping with the Singapore government’s initiative to enable ‘aging in place’, a dementia-friendly wayfinding solution was devised for Khatib Central and Chong Pang City, which were identified as residential estates with aging populations. The project’s objective was to create a system that assists seniors and those afflicted with dementia in navigating around their neighborhoods […]

The post Singapore Uses Bright Colored Signs to Created a Dementia-Friendly Neighborhood – LOOK appeared first on Good News Network.

Daily Multivitamins Could Help Keep Seniors Mentally Sharp—and May Protect Against Dementia

A daily multivitamin helps keep people over the age of 65 mentally sharp, and may also protect against dementia. Researchers estimated supplementation for three years roughly translated to a 60% slowing of cognitive decline, equating to nearly two years of normal mental capacity. There are currently around 5.6 million people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia […]

The post Daily Multivitamins Could Help Keep Seniors Mentally Sharp—and May Protect Against Dementia appeared first on Good News Network.

House passes Inflation Reduction Act, sending climate and health bill to Biden – The Washington Post

Placeholder while article actions load House Democrats on Friday approved a sprawling bill to lower prescription drug costs, address global warming, raise taxes on some billion-dollar corporations and reduce the federal deficit, sending to President Biden the long-delayed, last component…

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