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Brain: Can Music Slow Down Cognitive Decline?

Music can provide more benefits than just being enjoyable. Read on as we discuss how it may help improve brain health.

Brain: Can Music Slow Down Cognitive Decline?

Listening to music can help improve our brain's health and also boost our mood

The brain's plasticity its capacity to rearrange connections between neurons in order to encode and store new information determines our capacity to learn new things and recall new knowledge. Age-related declines in brain plasticity make learning new things more challenging. This is accompanied by a decline in the grey matter, which houses our neurons and causes brain atrophy and more cognitive decline. 

According to a Swiss study, both playing music and listening to it can slow down cognitive ageing in healthy seniors by encouraging the growth of grey matter in the brain. Progressive cognitive decline is linked to normal ageing. 

The human brain changes throughout the course of a lifetime. According to our environment and experiences, such as when we pick up new abilities or recover from the effects of a stroke, our brain's morphology and connections change. This ''brain plasticity'', though, declines with age. Additionally, the grey matter in the brain, which houses our treasured neurons, shrinks due to brain shrinkage.



Throughout our lives, the brain is constantly changing. As a result of our surroundings and experiences, such as when we gain new abilities or recover from a stroke, our brain's morphology and connections change. But as we age, this "brain plasticity" decreases. Grey matter, which includes our valuable neurons, is also lost in the brain. This phenomenon is known as "brain atrophy.”

The findings demonstrated that musical practise and listening encourage brain plasticity and cognitive reserve. These enjoyable and accessible interventions, according to the study's authors, ought to be a top focus for healthy ageing policies. The team's next task is to assess these therapies' potential in those who have a moderate cognitive impairment, a stage between normal ageing and dementia.



The loss in cognition happens gradually. One of the most damaged cognitive functions is working memory, which is at the core of many cognitive processes. Working memory is the method through which we temporarily store and use information to accomplish a task, such as remembering a phone number long enough to be able to write it down or translating from one language to another language.

According to the study, actively listening to music and practising it can keep working memory from deteriorating. Such activities encouraged brain plasticity and were linked to an increase in grey matter volume. Working memory benefits have also been seen.

All subjects' four high-level cognitive functioning brain regions, including working memory-related cerebellar regions, showed an increase in grey matter during neuroimaging. Their performance improved by 6%, and the cerebellum's plasticity was directly linked to this improvement.

The quantity of training done each day and the number of classes taken over the intervention period all had a beneficial effect on how much performance improved, the researchers discovered.

These findings demonstrate the positive effects of music practise and listening on cognitive reserve. These enjoyable and accessible interventions, according to the study's authors, ought to be a top focus for healthy ageing policies. The team's next task is to assess these therapies' potential in those who have a moderate cognitive impairment, a stage between normal ageing and dementia. 

In conclusion, music can provide more benefits than just being enjoyable. In fact, studies also show that music can improve mental health by boosting our mood. Hence, you are encouraged to incorporate listening to music in your daily routines. 


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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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