Musical Activities, Sharper Minds in Older Adults

Dust off that old instrument or join the local choir – a new study suggests making music can significantly improve cognitive function in older adults.

Published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, the research from the University of Exeter shows that engaging in musical activities, even for a short period in the past, is linked to better performance on cognitive tests. Professor Anne Corbett, who led the study, explains, “Our findings demonstrate that musical activities challenge the brain in a unique way, strengthening connections that benefit cognitive function and potentially protect against age-related decline.”

The study involved nearly 1,000 adults with an average age of 68. Those with any past musical experience, even limited, showed improvements in memory, reasoning, and executive function – all key aspects of mental sharpness.

These results highlight the potential of music as a simple and enjoyable way to promote brain health throughout life. As Professor Corbett concludes, “incorporating musical activities could become a valuable tool for maintaining cognitive well-being in older adults.” So, pick up a musical instrument, join a singing group, or simply enjoy some tunes – your mind will thank you for the music journey. 


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