ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
CANCER
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Tune Up Your Health With Music
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
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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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