Thursday July 19, 2018

Music lessons boost children’s memory and grades

Joining a music class may help children improve academic performance as researchers have found that such lessons can enhance their cognitive abilities

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Music lessons may improve development of children's cognitive skills.
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Joining a music class may help children improve academic performance as researchers have found that such lessons can enhance their cognitive abilities — including language-based reasoning and short-term memory.

“Despite indications that music has beneficial effects on cognition, music is disappearing from general education curricula,” said study co-author Artur Jaschke from VU University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Music lessons can help children greatly.

“This inspired us to initiate a long-term study on the possible effects of music education on cognitive skills that may underlie academic achievement,” Jaschke added.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the researchers conducted the study with 147 children across multiple Dutch schools, using a structured musical method developed by the Ministry of Research and Education in the Netherlands together with an expert centre for arts education.

All schools followed the regular primary school curriculum, with some providing supplementary music or visual arts classes. In these, the children were given both theoretical and practical lessons. After 2.5 years, the children’s academic performance was assessed, as well as various cognitive skills including planning, inhibition and memory skills.

The researchers found that children who received music lessons had significant cognitive improvements compared to all other children in the study. Visual arts classes also showed a benefit. Children in these classes had significantly improved visual and spatial short-term memory compared to students who had not received any supplementary lessons.

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Students learning music have better cognitivon skills. VOA

“Children who received music lessons showed improved language-based reasoning and the ability to plan, organise and complete tasks, as well as improved academic achievement,” Jaschke said.

“This suggests that the cognitive skills developed during music lessons can influence children’s cognitive abilities in completely unrelated subjects, leading to overall improved academic performance,” Jaschke added. IANS

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Prenatal Exposure to Plastic Chemical may Reduce Cognitive Skills

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism

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The findings are important as humans may be regularly exposed to a variety of phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals
The findings are important as humans may be regularly exposed to a variety of phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Pixabay

Prenatal or early exposure of your kids to a plastic chemical may harm brain development as well as reduce cognitive function, a study says.

Phthalates — chemicals that belong to the same class as Bisphenol A (BPA) and used in food packaging and processing materials — can potentially interfere with hormones important for the developing brain.

The study by researchers including Janice Juraska, from the University of Illinois in the US, showed that rats’ prenatal and early exposure to phthalates was associated with smaller medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) — brain region responsible for deep and dreamless sleep.

They also performed poorly on an attention-switching task than those not exposed to the chemicals early in life.

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism
As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism. Pixabay

The findings, published in Journal of Neuroscience, showed that perinatal phthalate exposure resulted in a reduction in neuron number, synapse number, size of the mPFC and a deficit in cognitive flexibility for both male and female adult offspring of these rats.

As the mPFC is crucial for high-level cognitive functions, reduced cognitive flexibility is observed in developmental disorders such as autism.

Also Read: thyroid Dysfunction May Lead to Diabetes During Pregnancy

The results show that perinatal phthalate exposure can have long-term effects on the cortex and behaviour of both male and female rats.

The findings are important as humans may be regularly exposed to a variety of phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, the researchers warned. (IANS)