Playing for Health: Can music keep your brain resilient as you age?
Presenter: Dr. Alison Balbag
Playing a musical instrument is a distinctly unique activity: Not only is it a form of art or entertainment, but increasing evidence supports that making music may benefit cognitive development and health. Many of these studies, however, focus on the effects of playing in childhood through young adulthood. Whether the cognitive benefits of making music extend across the lifespan and into older adulthood has not been extensively investigated.
Dr. Alison Balbag will discuss her recent work examining music’s potential to protect against dementia and cognitive impairment later in life. A population-based twin study, this work finds that playing an instrument in older adulthood is significantly associated with reduced risk of developing dementia or cognitive impairment. Given music’s universality, this evidence of its potential role as a non-pharmacological, non-invasive, and modifiable protective factor against dementia and cognitive impairment is particularly encouraging.