ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
CANCER
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
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
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
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Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- The discovery of a cache of prehistoric flutes suggests that music soothed the savage beast in early man as far back as 35,000 years ago.

German paleontologists found the flutes, made of ivory and bones from birds, in a cave in southwestern Germany. They date back to the Middle Paleolithic era and indicate that "early modern man" had more in common with today's humans than scientists realized.

"This tells us that a quintessential human trait was in existence at that time," said Jeffrey Laitman, director of anatomy and functional morphology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. "We're looking at a very sophisticated culture and population."

According to the report in the June 25 issue of Nature, "the archaeological record of the evolution and spread of music remains incomplete." As a result, it's been hard to pinpoint when humans began making music.

Prior to the current discovery, the authors wrote, the earliest musical artifacts dated from fewer than 30,000 years ago and were found in France and Austria.

Last summer, however, the German paleontologists found a nearly complete flute made of bone and fragments of three ivory flutes. Just like modern flutes, the ancient ones have holes that humans could cover to make different sounds when blowing through them.

The flutes show that the human society of the time was becoming modern, Laitman said.

They were not simply devoting their lives to finding food, he said. The flutes "are telling us about intricate and delicate communication, bonding, social events that are going on."

Why make a flute out of bird bone? Because it's an ideal kind of bone to use, said Daniel Adler, an anthropologist at the University of Connecticut.

"Bird bone is thin, light and strong, which is conducive to flight, but also to flute production," he said. "In addition, the marrow in bird bones is rather thin and therefore easy to remove without damaging the bone. Once removed, one has a bone tube ideal for transformation into a flute."

But one shouldn't assume that making a flute was an easy task just because ancient man managed to accomplish it, Adler said. "These are technologically savvy, socially and cognitively complex people. I'd like to see you or me try to make one of these things. We'd never make it into the orchestra!"

Adler predicted that scientists will find even earlier flutes. "These flutes are too well-made and designed to represent the first flutes," he said. "The makers and players of these flutes had considerable knowledge and experience that likely reflects information transfer across many generations."

In the big picture, the flute find gives greater insights in the ancestors of humans, Laitman said.

"You're looking at a fully modern cousin of ours who's appreciating things at a very fine level," he said. "It's quite an extraordinary thing."


SOURCES: Jeffrey Laitman, Ph.D., director, anatomy and functional morphology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; Daniel Adler, Ph.D., professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs; June 25, 2009, Nature. Published on: June 24, 2009