ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
The Raw Food Diet
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
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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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