Health, Zoomer Report

Early Musical Training and Dementia

Early Musical Training and Dementia featured image

Here’s something to make you wish you never gave up those violin or piano lessons your parents made you take.. Starting formal musical training at a young age may be instrumental in preventing or delaying some types of cognitive decline in later years.

A  Canadian study — led by scientists at the Rotman Research Institute (RRI) at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto — has found that older adults who had musical training when they were young were able to identify speech sounds 20% faster than their peers of non-musical background, meaning they were less likely to lose speech listening functions that weaken with age, such as speech comprehension.

The researchers separated healthy older adults, aged 55-75, into groups of non-musicians—and musicians who had at least 10 years of training in their younger years, and were still playing.

They found the older people with musical training had some of the same speech and language cognitive benefits that you see in younger people.

They say that’s because musical training hones the brain and auditory system to detect the fine changes in sounds, and their timing.

Now they want to explore whether older people can reap the same  benefits will come  after a few months of music lessons.

But the study leaves no doubt about how music benefits children, and how those benefits last for years to come.

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