This past week in my USC Lifespan Psychology master's class we discussed how music can benefit your brain.
Many of us fear losing cognitive ability as we age, especially with the statistics looking so glum.
Dementia is the leading cause of disability worldwide and age is the number one risk factor for neurodegenerative disease.
The Alzheimer Association reported 5.4 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer's disease (2012). Alzheimer's is the most prevalent type of Dementia, which is why there is a lot of talk about the two separately.
Besides trying to find a cure, many scientists and researchers are looking for protective factors that can help prevent or reduce the severity of these diseases.
This is where music comes in...
Music has been found to have a positive effect on many cognitive skills including memory, executive function, and visuospatial abilities. When playing music the whole brain is working - right and left hemispheres.
It is like a total body workout, but for the brain. In class a wonderful little video was shared which helps to simplify some of the recent findings. Please watch.
Music and its effect on cognitive abilities are new to the research field, however, there have been many successful studies already that demonstrate that adding a little more music to your life can do wonders for your brain.
So put on those head phones or get a little more adventurous and try and learn a new musical instrument - your brain will thank you!
Balbag, Alison Ph.D. (2016) Music & Cognitive Aging. USC School of Gerontology. lecture notes November 10,2016