ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Genetics, Environment Shape Sexual Behavior
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
FITNESS
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
After Job Loss, People Report More Health Issues
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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Birds Don't Miss a Beat

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Birds can tap their feet, sway their bodies and bob their heads in time with a musical beat, say two new studies that suggest the ability to feel the rhythm may be linked to another shared trait between humans and birds -- vocal training and mimicry.

"For a long time, people have thought that the ability to move to a beat was unique to humans," Adena Schachner of Harvard University, leader of the one of the studies, said in a Cell Press news release.

"After all, there is no convincing evidence that our closest relatives, chimpanzees and other apes, can keep a beat, and there is similarly no evidence that our pet dogs and cats can line up their actions with a musical beat, in spite of extensive experience with humans. In this work, however, we found that entrainment [to music] is not uniquely human; we find strong evidence for it in birds, specifically in parrots."

In their study, Schachner and colleagues reviewed more than 1,000 videos of dancing animals and determined that only vocal mimics -- including 14 parrot species and one species of elephant -- showed evidence of truly being able to move their bodies in rhythm with music.

In the other study, Aniruddh Patel, of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, and colleagues found that a cockatoo adjusted the tempo of his dancing to stay synchronized to the beat of music as it was sped up or slowed down.

The findings of these studies support the theory that being able to move in time to a musical beat relies on the neural circuitry for complex vocal learning, which requires a strong connection between auditory and motor circuits in the brain.

The research may also offer new insight into why humans make and enjoy music, which is regarded as an evolutionary puzzle.

"Although many theories have been proposed, little empirical evidence speaks to the issue. In particular, debate continues over the idea that the human music capacity was not selected for directly, but arose as the byproduct of other cognitive mechanisms," Schachner and colleagues wrote.

"By supporting the idea that entrainment emerged as a byproduct of vocal mimicry in avian species, the current findings lend plausibility to the idea that the human entrainment capacity evolved as a byproduct of our capacity for vocal mimicry," they added.

The studies were published online in the journal Current Biology.

More information

For more on the unique abilities of some bird species, visit PBS.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Cell Press, news release, April 30, 2009

Last Updated: May 12, 2009

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