Studying music may help kids focus attention

Studying music may help kids focus attention

Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:23AM GMT

A recent study has shown that musical training may help children focus their attention, regulate their emotions and lower anxiety levels.

A child psychiatry team from the University of Vermont College of Medicine led by Professor James Hudziak, utilized a database of brain scans of 232 children aged between 6 and 18.

The data base was obtained from Hudziak’s former research work for the National Institutes of Health’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Normal Brain Development.

The authors of the latest study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, found that playing music affected the motor regions of the brain, because such activities require movement control and coordination. It also showed that it causes changes in the brain’s behavior-regulating areas.

During previous research, the team found that cortical thickening or thinning in specific areas of a child’s brain reflected the occurrence of anxiety and depression, attention problems, aggression and behavior control issues.

Hudziak said that a child’s musical background also seems to draw a parallel with cortical thickness in “brain areas that play a critical role in inhibitory control, as well as aspects of emotion processing.”

The team’s findings support Hudziak’s hypothesis that a musical instrument may help a child fight psychological disorders even better than medicinal drugs.

“We treat things that result from negative things, but we never try to use positive things as treatment,” he said.

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