ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
CANCER
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
When Clocks Change, Body May Need Time to Adjust
Lower Vitamin D Levels in Blacks May Up Heart Risks
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
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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