News comes from researchers at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois. Researchers in the Auditory Neuroscience Lab found that older musicians had better neural response time to key acoustic features
News comes from researchers at Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois. Researchers in the Auditory Neuroscience Lab found that older musicians had better neural response time to key acoustic features, elements that are important for speech perception, than non-musicians. Their conclusion was that the reduction in neural precision and auditory processing times, which are observed to be related to age, is often lessened in those who have been or are involved with music and music training - especially if it had been since childhood, but even if started late in life.
Researchers Alexandra Parbery-Clark, Samira Anderson, Emily Hittner and Nina Kraus found that musical experience and training counteracts the effects of ageing on neural encoding, following a study involving 87 subjects, young and old, musicians and non-musicians. They didn't find that there was no degradation with age, but that it was reduced in those with a life-long habit of involvement with musical performance and study. They concluded that musical experience had a powerful impact on the ageing nervous system, but without being able to determine how this effect was produced.
A couple of years ago, an article in The Sunday Times - which we hope to report on in more detail at another time - described how extreme sports was greatly advantageous for what the article called the "Silver Set" in having the potential of boosting their mental abilities as opposed to the general trend of experiencing ones mental abilities declining with age.
If one accepts the findings of both of these examples it begs the question of whether, as with muscle wastage - reported in our article "Exercise and Lean Muscle Mass" - there is much about many of the effects of the ageing process that is more related to lack of use rather than the ageing process itself.