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PIANISTS HAVE MORE EFFICIENT BRAINS

by Dr. Norman M. Weinberger

hr

Scientists in Germany have discovered that pianists have more efficient brains. A group led by Dr. Timo Krings required pianists and non-musicians of the same age and sex to perform complex sequences of finger movements. Their brains were scanned using a technique called "functional magnetic resonance imaging" (fMRI) which detects the activity levels of brain cells, by measuring changes in blood flow. The non-musicians were able to make the movements as correctly as the pianists. However, the amount of brain activity in areas controlling movement was different. The pianists made the correct movements while having less brain activation. Thus, compared to non-musicians, the brains of pianists are more efficient at making skilled movements. These findings show that musical training can enhance brain function [source: Neuroscience Letters, 2000, 278, 189-198]

This article is reprinted with permission of the author from Musica Research Notes, (Volume VII, Issue 2, Spring 2000). For further information, contact MuSICA at www.musica.uci.edu/index.html

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