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The Elder-Boomer Buzz, Issue #019 -- The Mind, Immunity, Mozart and Music
February 20, 2010

Issue #19
The Mind, Immunity, Mozart
and Music


Get the amazing scoop on why music and Mozart beat the blues and mend the mind and immunity.

You may already know that music can make us healthier. At any age – from babies to boomers to elderly. But did you know...

The Chair of Music Therapy at the University of Michigan, Frederick Tims, Ph.D. (who has also worked with Alzheimers projects at the U. of Miami) conducted a study on over 60 older retirees with varied marital status, gender and ethnicity. It was called the Music Making and Wellness project, and took place over two school semesters, each being 10-week sessions. The participating seniors specifically studied group keyboard lessons. Health measurements were taken before and after the study.

The results demonstrated that those who took the music lessons had significantly improved scores in the areas of depression, anxiety and loneliness. And these, then, improved stress levels, the immune system, and overall health.

There have also been recent studies at the Tel Aviv Medical Center in Israel by researcher Dror Mandel and colleague Ronit Lubetzky, and published in the January issue of the Pediatrics journal. The studies were conducted on premature babies who significantly calmed down after listening to Mozart. The calming effect decreased their expenditure of energy, which decreased their need for calories, which caused better weight gain and ability to thrive.

Music is known to decrease stress and heart rate, and increase the amount of important oxygen levels in blood. But why Mozart? Mandel explains that Mozart melodies are repetitive, including specific frequencies, and effect certain brain centers. Previous Mozart studies in the 1990s with college students resulted in improvement in performance for those who participated.

Whether Mozart, keyboard, or almost anything else, music is a great way to bring a group together, and enhance gatherings and activities. And it cheers you up. Just about any ability level can participate in music. Even those who are severely hearing impaired can often still hear or sense beat. Drumming can be a satisfying alternative for them vs. traditional music. My father pointed out to me as his hearing decreased that although he could not hear many frequencies and sounds, he could “hear” beat.

Music also encourages one of the funnest ways to exercise – dance! – even if just moving legs, tapping feet, moving the head and shoulders, or swaying arms from a chair. So find ways to regularly get music going in your life -- and get grooving. Perfect for those sluggish about exercise!


Visit our web site for lots more great articles for baby boomers and seniors at www.elder-one-stop.com.

The best to you,

Mary

The Elder-Boomer Buzz comes out during the first and third weeks of the month.
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