Visual tests, distorted pictures of cats and dogs, dementia and Parkinson’s…

Medscape reports on new research results from the International Conference on Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, held in Vancouver, BC, Canada June 4 – 8 2017.

Pictures of Cats and Dogs suggest identification of high risk for Parkinson’s dementia.

When viewing pictures of cats and dogs with no distortion, medium distortion, and strong distortion, Parkinson’s Patients did worse than controls in distinguishing between cats and dogs in the medium distortion condition, pointing to possible improved tests and treatments to prevent dementia in Parkinson’s.

Autopsy studies of patients with PD confirm that this area of the brain — the infero-temporal and parieto-occipital cortex — is affected, she noted. “So we already know that there is some clue that the visual processing part of the brain is important.”

Current visuo-perceptual tests measure only one or two aspects of visual processing and tend to be “too easy,” said Dr Weil. “Everyone does very well on them and by the time they do badly, their disease may have progressed quite a bit. We need trickier tests.”

As well, current tests measure visual processing only in small numbers of patients. Online testing enables access to large numbers of patients.

“People think of PD as a disorder of movement but it’s much more complex and affects much more than just movement.”

A key question then, she said, is how does PD affect the brain? “Whatever it is that causes PD doesn’t just involve the deep part of the brain, but also involves the thinking and memory parts, and the fact that people have trouble with these tests suggests that those bits are involved.”

 

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Nostalgia can be good for you

Contrary to what had been thought for many years, psychology as a science has within the last few years done research into nostalgia, and has found that it can be positive in its results.

It has been so good, in fact, that the University of Southampton in the UK has created a Nostalgia Center.

And to do research, they’ve created a Nostalgia scale for measurement.

some other overlapping research involves music and nostalgia

At UC Davis, they study how music and nostalgia interact.

It’s all good.

 

Music research: a scale to get beyond the non-musician/musician binary classification

This is just a reference to an article and its abstract, nothing more, nothing less.

Multidimensional measurement of exposure to music in childhood: Beyond the musician/non-musician dichotomy

Hugo Cogo-MoreiraAlexandra Lamont

 

Abstract

Much research in music psychology characterizes the music background of its participants in a dichotomous manner, labeling participants as “musicians” and “non-musicians” or professionals and non-professionals. However, this terminology is inconsistent from study to study, and even more sophisticated measures fail to accurately represent music experiences; moreover, there is no standardized measure suitable for use with younger participants. This article presents a new measure, the Exposure to Music in Childhood Inventory, for capturing the amount and type of exposure to music activities suitable for use with children. Children from public and private school, aged 5 to 13 years old (N = 1006; M = 8.36 years old, SD = 1.5 years) completed the inventory, and through a combination of exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis a two-factor solution was obtained. The first factor includes personal music listening activities, home musical environment and the influence of television and the internet; the second reflects more social, active and public elements of music-making, playing an instrument and performing. This scale is suitable for use in a wide range of future research to more accurately assess the kinds of music activities children have access to in a dimensional way, which can have a bearing on their understanding of music.

 

 

An NIH-Kennedy Center Initiative to Explore Music and the Mind

Link to full article:  http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2630954

(I know how to embed a link inside text – just chose not to do it that way this time, thanks for the advice, folks).  Here’s a couple of quotes from the article:

Music is fundamental to the human species in ways that reach beyond entertainment or pastime. In Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks noted that music can “calm us, animate us, comfort us, thrill us, or serve to organize and synchronize us at work or play, [but] it may be especially powerful and have great therapeutic potential for patients with a variety of neurological conditions.”

. . .

Processing music is one of the most cognitively demanding tasks our brains undertake, and creating and performing music is even more complex. We are just beginning to understand what neural processes underlie the effects of active music making, and a better appreciation of these processes would likely enhance understanding of brain responses to other stimuli and tasks. There is already compelling evidence that in children, music training assists development of language skills, auditory processing, and educational achievement compared with untrained peers,2– 4 and anecdotally, many top professionals across different disciplines have musical training in their background.

The article describes the beginning of this initiative and why it is important – it will be interesting to follow this topic in the future.

Here’s the reference list from the article. More good info there.

References

1.

Schlaug  G.  Musicians and music making as a model for the study of brain plasticity.  Prog Brain Res. 2015;217:37-55. doi:10.1016/bs.pbr.2014.11.020PubMed

2.

Hallam  S.  The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people.  Int J Music Educ. 2010;28(3):269-289. doi:10.1177/0255761410370658Article

3.

The Arts and Human Development: Learning Across the Lifespan. National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with US Dept of Health and Human Services. https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/TheArtsAndHumanDev.pdf. 2011. Accessed April 5, 2017.

4.

Moreno  S, Bialystok  E, Barac  R,  et al.  Short-term music training enhances verbal intelligence and executive function.  Psychol Sci. 2011;22(11):1425-1433.PubMedArticle

5.

Bailey  JA, Zatorre  RJ, Penhune  VB.  Early musical training is linked to gray matter structure in the ventral premotor cortex and auditory-motor rhythm synchronization performance.  J Cogn Neurosci. 2014;26(4):755-767.PubMedArticle

6.

Patel  AD.  Why would musical training benefit the neural encoding of speech? the OPERA hypothesis.  Front Psychol. 2011;2:142. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00142PubMedArticle

7.

Norman-Haignere  S, Kanwisher  NG, McDermott  JH.  Distinct cortical pathways for music and speech revealed by hypothesis-free voxel decomposition.  Neuron. 2015;88(6):1281-1296.PubMedArticle

8.

Limb  CJ, Braun  AR.  Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: an FMRI study of jazz improvisation.  PLoS One. 2008;3(2):e1679.PubMedArticle

9.

Salimpoor  VN, Benovoy  M, Larcher  K, Dagher  A, Zatorre  RJ.  Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music.  Nat Neurosci. 2011;14(2):257-262.PubMedArticle

A treasure trove of learning

Found an interesting site out in Califrnia, an educatioanl institution naturally, with several thought provoking titles availble for reading – originally got to the site by a link to the paper on the positive effects of music therapy .

http://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/caps_thes_all/  is a cresaative commons digital archive for the  California State University, Monterey Bay.:

There is an account registration, but it is not needed to download all of the files. Some of the Capstone projects and theses that I found interesting were:

PDF  A Discussion Regarding Various Animals’ Abilities to Make Music and Move Rhythmically to Songs, Emilie R. Bufford

PDF And The Beat Goes on: The Story of the Drum Machine, Ismael Medina

PDF Engineers Throughout Jazz History, Alex Declet

PDF  Sound Synthesis: Methods and Techniques, Christopher E. Hilker

PDF  The Benefits of Music in Child Development, Dulce-Paola Ixtupe

PDF  The Positive Effect Music Therapy Has on People, Rita Oby Ebo

PDF  Accommodating Students Different Learning Styles with the Use of Technology, Jaime Prieto

PDF   Comparing the Cost of Preamplifiers to Their Sonic Fidelity and Frequency Output, Jackson O. Hunter

PDF  Self-Expression Through Dance in Early Elementary School, Emily Blythe

PDF  The Benefits of Outdoor Education and Experiential Learning in Elementary Schools, Elizabeth F. Valentino

PDF  The Benefits of Outdoor Education Curriculum for Elementary School Students with Nature Deficit Disorder, Madison L. Allen

PDF  Incorporating Music and Arts to Enhancing the Learning Experience of Elementary School Students, Ashley Fernandez

PDF  Making the Garden a Viable Part of Curriculum, Laura Forbes

PDF  Variety for Vocalists, Jonathan Morgadinho