Classical music can help slow down the onset of dementia, new research has found.
Scientists discovered that patients who listened to experts of Mozart had enhanced gene activity in the brain in areas including memory and learning.
Meanwhile, the music also affected the activity of a risk gene connected to Parkinson’s disease.
The Finnish researchers found the changed activity was only present in ‘musically-experienced’ patients, who listened to music regularly, suggesting the importance of familiarity with music.
For the study, participants were asked to listen to Mozart’s violin concert No 3, G-major, K.216, a piece that lasts 20 minutes. The experiment was carried out on both musically experienced and inexperienced participants.
The study showed that genes were enhanced in those deemed ‘musically experienced’ in areas such as dopamine secretion, which is when a neurohormone is released in the brain, synaptic neurotransmission, which is how neurons receive information, and learning and memory.
Meanwhile, the music appeared to down-regulate genes associated with neuro-degeneration, which is the progressive loss of the structure or function of neurons.
The researchers said several of the up-regulated genes were ones which are responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds
This suggests a common evolutionary background of sound perception across different species, they said.
One of the most affected genes in this area was synuclein-alpha (SNCA), which is also a known risk gene for Parkinson’s disease.
Study leader Doctor Irma Jarvela, of Helsinki University, said: ‘The up-regulation of several genes that are known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds suggest a shared evolutionary background of sound perception between vocalizing birds and humans.’
He added: ‘The effect was only detectable in musically experienced participants, suggesting the importance of familiarity and experience in mediating music-induced effects.’
Dr Jarvela added that the findingscould give give further insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying music therapy.
The effects of this are still largely unknown.
Source: DailyMail –