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Keep Your Brain Young With Music

By Chris Brown

Your favorite music may feel good on your ears in the short-term, but studies have found that it may also be keeping your brain young and cognitively strong long-term. The power of music for increasing brainpower has been understood subjectively for centuries, but just why and how it works is still being studied. A leading theory is that music exercises the brain to health, just as consistent physical exercise keeps the body in working order. As time wears the brain, consistent music "exercises" keep it in top shape. So continue listening to your favorite music to keep your best self active into your older years.

Keeping the Brain Sharp With Music

Youthful brains are active brains and vice-versa. Music has been shown to keep brains acting young by activating them in ways they aren't typically engaged. AARP conducted a study of music and the brain, finding better well-being and brain health for those who regularly listened to music. The researchers stated that music's balance between creativity and predictability help listeners' brains learn into old age. Not to mention, the dopamine release that has been studied from music listening feeds the brain with a chemical known to improve performance and cognition. How music exactly prevents brain aging is still being studied, although researchers believe it has something to do with music's ability to exercise the brain.

Music: Weightlifting for the Brain

The special feature of music is its ability to engage all parts of the brain at once. The brain requires activation and activity to stay strong. Music's activation helps maintain those neural connections which support healthy and youthful brain activity. A John Hopkins University doctor explains this wide activation "workout" for the brain as a response to the complex mathematical and architectural aspects of music. And, as opposed to common thoughts on classical music, it doesn't matter what type of music is being heard. All music types have a potential to work out the brain and keep it strong and youthful.

Alzheimer's Patients Respond to Musical Stimuli

In a University of Central Florida study of Alzheimer's and dementia patients, neuroscientist Kiminobu Sugaya found that playing an unresponsive Alzheimer's patient's favorite music caused them to temporarily regain activity, moving and sometimes singing/speaking for up to 10 minutes after the music had stopped. Music also has shown the power to enable Alzheimer's patients to remember past events, especially from the period in which that music was popular. Music's intricate tie to memory and its ability to reverse the effects of a destructive disease such as Alzheimer's, even for a few minutes, shows its symbiosis with brain functionality and longevity.

If music can take a dementia patient back in time, imagine what it can do for the rest of us. Aging is always hard, but maintaining a young brain is important for keeping those golden years, well, golden.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Springfield, Mo.

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