And the positive effects seemed to be stronger the longer a person took music lessons as a child, the researchers noted. The study is published in the Journal of Neuroscience , and is based on testing of 44 adults ages 55 to 76. The study participants had the electrical activity of their auditory brainstem measured as they listened to the speech syllable “da.” The brain response to the sound was fastest among people who had had four to 14 years of musical training in childhood, with the response being a millisecond faster than those who had no musical training as children. “Being a millisecond faster may not seem like much, but the brain is very sensitive to timing and a millisecond compounded over millions of neurons can make a real difference in the lives of older adults,” Michael Kilgard, Ph.D., who studies the brain’s sound-processing abilities at University of Texas at Dallas and who wasn’t involved in this study, said in a statement. “These findings confirm that the investments that we make in our brains early in life continue to pay dividends years later.” And people could stand to benefit from starting music lessons at a very young age, according to another study in the Journal of Neuroscience.
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