ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
CANCER
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
Quick Weight Loss May Be Best for Long-Term Success
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Sleep and Do Better
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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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