ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
CANCER
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Marinades Help Keep Grilled Meat Safe
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Maximize Your Run
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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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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