ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
FITNESS
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
What you need to know about swine flu.
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
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HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
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
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Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
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
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
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Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound

FRIDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Musical training enhances the ability to recognize emotion in speech and other sounds, a finding that suggests that musical training might benefit people with language problems and impaired emotional perception.

"Quickly and accurately identifying emotion in sound is a skill that translates across all arenas, whether in the predator-infested jungle or in the classroom, boardroom or bedroom," Dana Strait, a music cognition researcher at Northwestern University, said in a university news release.

Strait and her colleagues studied 30 musicians and non-musicians, ages 19 to 35, and found that the more years of musical experience people had and the earlier they began their music studies, the better the ability of the nervous system to process emotion in sound.

During the study, participants heard a 250-millisecond fragment of a distressed baby's cry. Electrodes placed on the volunteers' scalps measured their sensitivity to the sound. The results showed that musicians' brainstems zeroed in on the complex part of the sound that carried more emotional elements but did not pay as much attention to the simpler -- less emotion-conveying -- part of the sound. This did not occur in non-musicians, the researchers found.

"That [musicians'] brains respond more quickly and accurately than the brains of non-musicians is something we'd expect to translate into the perception of emotion in other settings," Strait said.

The sound elements processed more efficiently by musicians are the same ones that children with language disorders have trouble encoding, the researchers noted.

"It would not be a leap to suggest that children with language processing disorders may benefit from musical experience," said study co-author and neuroscientist Nina Kraus.

Strait, who formerly worked as a therapist with autistic children, noted that impaired emotional perception is a major characteristic of autism and Asperger's syndrome. She suggested that musical training might help promote emotion processing in people with these conditions.

The study was published in the European Journal of Neuroscience.

More information

The American Music Therapy Association has more about music therapy.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release, March 3, 2009

Last Updated: March 13, 2009

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