Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Playing a musical instrument during adulthood is significantly associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia"

How playing an instrument benefits your brain - Anita Collins:

Playing a Musical Instrument as a Protective Factor against Dementia and Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Twin Study:

“Playing and learning a musical instrument has been shown to benefit cognitive development and health during younger life, but what about learning and playing an instrument as an adult?

“Until now, the effect of playing an instrument as a leisure activity and dementia risk has not been thoroughly investigated… [R]esearch published in the International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that playing a musical instrument during adulthood is significantly associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

“The researcher’s analyzed data from 157 sets of twin’s participating in a Swedish study, known as HARMONY. This study is unique as it only recruited for sets of twins where one twin had been diagnosed with a form of dementia or a cognitive impairment, and the other twin had not. Conducting the research on twins allowed the researchers to control for a large number of genetic and environmental factors. This meant the research could determine risk factors that were unique to the twin with dementia, as well as protective factors exclusive to the healthy twin.

“The focus of this paper was to explore whether playing a musical instrument in later life was a protective factor for dementia. All participants completed a lifestyle questionnaire, which included questions about their experience of playing a musical instrument. These questions included whether the participant played new and/or familiar music, their frequency of playing, and whether she/he was still playing at time of assessment or stopped playing at a specific age. It is important to note that none of the participants identified themselves as a professional musician.

“Of the 157 sets of twins (i.e. 314 individuals), 31 individuals identified that they played a musical instrument. When they delved further into these 31 musicians, 27 were found to be cognitively healthy, while four had dementia. So when the researchers analyzed this specific group of twins (controlling for gender, education, and physical activity) they found that those participants who played an instrument in older adulthood had a 64% lower likelihood of developing a cognitive impairment or dementia.

“This result provides more evidence that learning a new hobby (such as a musical instrument) may be able to stimulate your brain and reduce your risk of dementia.”

Sources/Research Article: 
International Journal of Alzheimer’s disease -

1 comment:

  1. Hum If You Can’t Sing by Glen Brown

    So what if at every conflict in life we burst
    into song – thoughtless as reciting a prayer –
    reward our feet with a waltz or two,
    congratulate ourselves with an aria
    then tap dance our way through
    the kitchen and dining room?

    And suppose the musicians arrive early
    each morning to tune up their strings
    and oil their drums
    while the white-gloved conductor waits
    with his cue sheet at the breakfast table?

    Would we expect a chorus prophesying disaster
    or a fugue in D-minor for pension reform?
    Why not ask for a drum roll through toiletry instead
    or a diminuendo through dinner?

    And what might our friends and spouse say
    about all that sheet music stuffed in our pockets,
    about our lives cluttered with voice lessons,
    rehearsals and women dressed in high heels
    and fishnet stockings?

    Imagine the fun of it all, the spotlight
    on us all as we dance and sing
    throughout our lives with our pets joining in
    with happy tails, and birds whistling
    from their cages, encouraging applause
    for our pitch-perfect responses each day.