Science

MUSIC CURES [10 VIDEOS]

Music therapy as an addition to standard care helps people with schizophrenia to improve their global state, mental state (including negative symptoms) and social functioning if a sufficient number of music therapy sessions are provided by qualified music therapists. Further research should especially address the long-term effects of music therapy, dose-response relationships, as well as the relevance of outcomes measures in relation to music therapy. Music therapy is a therapeutic method that uses music experiences to help people with serious mental disorders to develop relationships and to address issues they may not be able to using words alone. Studies to date have examined the effects of music therapy as an add-on treatment to standard care. The results of these studies suggest that music therapy improves global state and may also improve mental state and functioning if a sufficient number of music therapy sessions are provided.– Music therapy for people with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like disorders (Mössler K, Chen X, Heldal TO, Gold C)[1]

In conjunction with the research question of the effectiveness of music interventions on adolescents, evidence points to the music therapy technique of lyric analysis being an effective intervention for mental health professionals working with adolescents. Research establishes adolescence  40 to be a unique period in a person’s life requiring specific interventions to engage these clients in psychotherapy. In considering the significant impact music has on the life of an adolescent, lyric analysis tactfully recognizes the significance of an adolescent’s preferred music while utilizing the symbolic meaning behind the music to facilitate in-depth therapeutic discussion. -The Effectiveness of Music Interventions in Psychotherapy with Adolescent Clients (Hope Lauren Esala)[2]

The present study has found that music creates significant changes in systolic tension arterial and pulse oximeter values; significantly decreases pain, Faces Anxiety Scale, and state anxiety means scores and increases general comfort level. More research is needed on the effects of music offered by a trained music therapist. –The Effect of Music on Comfort, Anxiety and Pain in the Intensive Care Unit: A Case in Turkey (Hatice Çiftçi, MSc, RN, Gürsel Öztunç, PhD) [3]

 

 

According to a paper in the UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing, listening to music can reduce chronic pain from a range of painful conditions, including osteoarthritis, disc problems, and rheumatoid arthritis, by up to 21%. [ref]

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Link found between brain structures and creativity

Creativity continues to keep us curious. How does it happen? Are their catalysts that provoke the creative spirit? Some might argue that creativity is a result of necessity of survival. In other words, we become creative when we are in search for new and better ways of living. We look outside our norms to find solutions to our problems, only after experiencing pain.

Investigators at Stanford University have found a link between creative problem-solving and heightened activity in the cerebellum, a structure located in the back of the brain and more typically thought of as the body’s movement-coordination center.


 

Investigators at Stanford University have found a surprising link between creative problem-solving and heightened activity in the cerebellum, a structure located in the back of the brain and more typically thought of as the body’s movement-coordination center.

In designing the study, the researchers drew inspiration from the game Pictionary.

The cerebellum, traditionally viewed as the brain’s practice-makes-perfect, movement-control center, hasn’t been previously recognized as critical to creativity. The new study, a collaboration between the School of Medicine and Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, commonly known as the d.school, is the first to find direct evidence that this brain region is involved in the creative process.

“Our findings represent an advance in our knowledge of the brain-based physiology of creativity,” said the study’s senior author, Allan Reiss, MD, professor of radiology and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

The study, to be published May 28 in Scientific Reports, also suggests that shifting the brain’s higher-level, executive-control centers into higher gear impairs, rather than enhances, creativity.

“We found that activation of the brain’s executive-control centers — the parts of the brain that enable you to plan, organize and manage your activities — is negatively associated with creative task performance,” said Reiss, who holds the Howard C. Robbins Professorship in Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences.

“Creativity is an incredibly valued human attribute in every single human endeavor, be it work or play,” he continued. “In art, science and business, creativity is the engine that drives progress. As a practicing psychiatrist, I even see its importance to interpersonal relationships. People who can think creatively and flexibly frequently have the best outcomes.”

The collaboration began about 3 ½ years ago when Grace Hawthorne, MFA, MBA, a consulting associate professor at the d.school who teaches a design-thinking skills course called “Creative Gym,” and one of her students approached Reiss, who has previously studied humor and other higher-level cognitive functions. They asked if he could objectively measure creativity, the better to confirm that Hawthorne’s course can enhance it.

“We didn’t know that much about how to do that,” Reiss said. “So we decided to design a study that would give us baseline information on creativity’s underlying neurophysiological processes.”

How do you measure creativity?

As much as creativity may be in demand, it’s not so easy to measure. At least 25 or 30 previous studies, mostly of professionally creative people such as jazz musicians and Emmy Award winners, have tried to look at neural correlates of creativity, said the study’s lead author, Manish Saggar, PhD, an instructor in psychiatry and a member of the teaching team at the d.school.

“Everybody wants to think creatively,” Saggar said. “But how do you get somebody to actually do that on command? Forcing people to think creatively may actually hamper creativity.”

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that subjects’ brain processes are monitored while they’re confined inside a dark, cramped MRI chamber. This environment is not exactly the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about places where creativity can flower, Saggar said.

“Creativity has to be measured in a fun environment,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re bound to have anxiety and performance issues.”

Saggar came up with the idea of borrowing an approach from Pictionary, a game in which players try to convey a word through drawing to help their teammates guess what the word is. He selected action words like “vote,” “exhaust” and “salute.” Then he, Reiss and their colleagues serially tested 14 men and 16 women in an MRI chamber, recording activity throughout their brains via functional MRI scans while they drew either a word or, for comparison, a zigzag line, which required initiation and fine-motor control but not much creativity. Participants were given 30 seconds per word, long enough for a decent scan but short enough to elicit spontaneous improvisation and stave off boredom.

“We didn’t tell anyone, ‘Be creative!’ We just told them, ‘Draw the word,'” Reiss said.

The drawings were captured on a special MRI-safe electronic tablet designed by study co-author Robert Dougherty, PhD, research director at the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging. The drawings were then sent to Hawthorne and Adam Royalty, a researcher at the d.school and co-author of the study. Hawthorne and Royalty separately rated the drawings on five-point scales of appropriateness — did it depict what it was supposed to? — and creativity — how many elements were in the drawing? How elaborate was it? How original?

When they emerged from the MRI chamber, subjects were asked to rate the words they’d been asked to draw for relative difficulty. Increasing subjective difficulty of drawing a word correlated with increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an executive-function center involved in attention and evaluation. But high creativity scores later assigned by the raters were associated with low activity in the executive-function center. Higher creativity scores were associated with higher activation in the cerebellum.

On analysis, a number of brain areas were more active when subjects were engaged in drawing words than when they were drawing zigzag lines. Peak activation occurred in the cerebellum and regions of the cortex known to be involved in coordinating motor control or acting as a visual sketchpad. The latter regions’ involvement in detailed drawing wasn’t particularly surprising.

‘The more you think about it, the more you mess it up’

But the heightened activity in the cerebellum was unexpected, as was its association with high creativity scores subsequently assigned by the raters. In monkeys, this brain region has been found to be especially active in learning and practicing new movements.

But those monkey findings may have thrown researchers off, Saggar said. Newer studies show that, unlike the monkey cerebellum, the human cerebellum has robust connections not only to the motor cortex, the brain’s higher movement-control center, but to the other parts of the cortex as well.

“Anatomical and, now, functional evidence point to the cerebellum as doing much more than simply coordination of movement,” Saggar said.

He and his colleagues speculate that the cerebellum may be able to model all new types of behavior as the more frontally located cortical regions make initial attempts to acquire those behaviors. The cerebellum then takes over and, in an iterative and subconscious manner, perfects the behavior, relieving the cortical areas of that burden and freeing them up for new challenges.

“It’s likely that the cerebellum is the coordination center for the rest of brain, allowing other regions to be more efficient,” said Reiss.

“As our study also shows, sometimes a deliberate attempt to be creative may not be the best way to optimize your creativity,” he said. “While greater effort to produce creative outcomes involves more activity of executive-control regions, you actually may have to reduce activity in those regions in order to achieve creative outcomes.”

Saggar put it more bluntly. “The more you think about it, the more you mess it up,” he said.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Stanford University Medical Center. The original item was written by Bruce Goldman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Manish Saggar, Eve-Marie Quintin, Eliza Kienitz, Nicholas T. Bott, Zhaochun Sun, Wei-Chen Hong, Yin-hsuan Chien, Ning Liu, Robert F. Dougherty, Adam Royalty, Grace Hawthorne & Allan L. Reiss. Pictionary-based fMRI paradigm to study the neural correlates of spontaneous improvisation and figural creativityScientific Reports, May 2015 DOI: 10.1038/srep10894

This physicist plays guitar -what he discovers is astounding ! 

  
Have you ever wondered if there is something that separates master musicians ? And if so , is there a science to what they’re doing ? Well, there may not be a secret code but, there is science to how master musicians have cultivated their technique and art form. Over time a musician will take trial and error towards finding the path of least resistance to the sound they wish to create. As a result , amazing unseen proccesses are constructed as to support the music the musician wishes to create.

String bends, tapping, vibrato and whammy bars are all techniques that add to the distinctiveness of a lead guitarist’s sound, whether it’s Clapton, Hendrix, or BB King.

Now guitarist and physicist Dr David Robert Grimes has described the physics underlying these techniques in the journal PLOS ONE.
‘Very good guitarists will manipulate the strings to make the instrument sing,’ explains Dr Grimes. ‘On a piano, you’ve got the 12 chromatic notes in a scale. On a guitar, you can bend the strings to get the notes in between. I wanted to understand what it was about these guitar techniques that allows you to manipulate pitch.’
Dr Grimes is a postdoctoral researcher in Oxford University’s Department of Oncology, and normally spends his time working on mathematical models of oxygen distribution in order to improve radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer.
But he is also a keen guitarist, and has been a session musician and member of a band in Dublin in the past. In spare time at his previous position at Dublin City University and now at Oxford University, he worked out the physics behind the instinctive playing of the best guitarists.
Dr Grimes derived equations describing how string bending, vibrato and whammy bars change the pitch of a note. He found that the properties of the strings had a big effect on the change in pitch — in particular the Young’s modulus (a measure of how much the string stretches under force) and how thick the strings are.
He also worked out how easy hammer-ons and pull-offs are, depending on the height of the guitar strings above the finger board.
Finally, he confirmed the equation for string bends experimentally, measuring the frequency of the sound produced for strings bent through different angles on a guitar.
Dr Grimes says: ‘I took one of my oldest guitars down to the engineering lab at Dublin City University to one of the people I knew there and explained that I wanted to strip it down to do this experiment. We had to accurately bend the strings to different extents and measure the frequency produced. He was a musician too and looked at me with abject horror. But we both knew it needed to be done — We put some nails into my guitar for science.’
The physics of vibrating strings and string instruments has been long understood. But no one has previously worked out how effects like bending the string change the pitch of the sound. Nor how this depends on the tension of the string, the force applied, and the angle through which it is bent.
‘It turns out it’s actually reasonably straightforward,’ says Dr Grimes. ‘It’s an experiment a decent physics undergraduate could do, and a cool way of studying some basic physics principles. It’s also potentially useful to string manufacturers and digital instrument modellers.’
As for Dr Grimes’ guitar heros? He says: ‘Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd has the most amazing bend control. And Steve Vai is the kind of guy you hate for his sheer talent.’ But it was perhaps another physicist and guitarist who inspired him to play in the first place: ‘I think the only person I ever wrote fan mail to was Brian May of Queen — He was one of the reasons I got into playing music. It’s still one of my life’s ambitions to have a conversation with Brian May.’
Source: Sciencedaily.com

What plants and violins of in common: You might be surprised!

There is no arguing that we take inspiration from nature. In biomimicry we mimic the way nature works in order to better facility and enable the use of technological advances. We look to nature to provide us with best practices and procedures so that we can gain benefit from the flow that nature showcases. When it comes to musical instruments, however, we don’t typically think of their design mimicking something in nature. Yet scientist have found a unique link between the shape of the violin and plants. The findings are very interesting and insightful.

This is a mosaic of a violin comprised of over 5,000 violin images derived from the 9,000 photographs used in this study. Credit: Dan Chitwood; CC-BY

“There are many parallels between leaves and violins,” says Dan Chitwood, Ph.D., assistant member, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. “Both have beautiful shapes that are potentially functional, change over time, or result from mimicry. Shape is information that can tell us a story. Just as evolutionary changes in leaf shape inform us about mechanisms that ultimately determine plant morphology, the analysis of cultural innovations, such as violins, gives us a glimpse into the historical forces shaping our lives and creativity.”

As a plant biologist, Chitwood spends most of his time exploring genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying diversity in plant morphology, or in layman’s terms, understanding how leaf shapes are formed and what that means for a plant to grow and thrive. He also studies how leaf shapes change as plant species evolve to adapt in different environments. Research into why a desert-adapted tomato species can survive with little water, for example, sheds light on how leaf architecture affects the efficiency of plant water use.

Chitwood’s research involves the tools of “morphometrics,” which can be used to quantify traits of evolutionary significance. Changes in shape over time provide insight into an object’s function or evolutionary relationships. A major objective of morphometrics is to statistically test hypotheses about the factors that affect shape.

But his love of music, and his talent playing the viola, led Chitwood to ask how musical instruments, particularly those designed by masters, evolved over time. Could shapes of violins tell us something about the function of the instrument, or about which violin makers (luthiers) borrowed ideas from others? Could the factors influencing violin evolution be analyzed and understood using the same morphometric approaches used to understand evolution of natural species?

Violin shapes have been in flux since the design and production of the first instruments in 16th century Italy. Numerous innovations have improved the acoustical properties and playability of violins. Although the coarse shape of violins is integral to their design, details of the body outline can vary without significantly compromising sound quality.

Chitwood compiled data on the body shapes of more than 9,000 violins from over 400 years of design history using iconography data from auction houses. The dataset encompasses the most highly desirable violins, and those of historical importance, including violins designed by Giovanni Paolo Maggini, Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, and Antonio Stradivari, as well as Stradivari copyists Nicolas Lupot, Vincenzo Panormo, and Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.

The results of Chitwood’s research were published in the article, “Imitation, genetic lineages, and time influenced the morphological evolution of the violin,” in the October 8th edition of the journal, PLOS ONE.

Chitwood found that specific shape attributes differentiate the instruments, and these details strongly correlate with historical time. His linear discriminant analysis reveals luthiers who likely copied the outlines of their instruments from others, which historical accounts corroborate. Clustering images of averaged violin shapes places luthiers into four major groups, demonstrating a handful of discrete shapes predominate in most instruments.

As it turns out, genetics also played a role in violin making. Violin shapes originating from multi-generational luthier families tend to cluster together, and familial origin is a significant explanatory factor of violin shape. Together, the analysis of four centuries of violin shapes demonstrates not only the influence of history and time leading to the modern violin, but widespread imitation and the transmission of design by human relatedness.

As with all scientific papers, Chitwood’s article was rigorously peer-reviewed, in this case, by some of the world’s leading morphometrics experts. The critiques prior to publication led to improvements in the morphometric techniques used in the final analyses. Chitwood is now applying his improved methods to his plant research program at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

“This is a fantastic example of how advances in one field can help advance a seemingly unrelated field,” said Chitwood. “I’ll be a happy scientist and musician if by understanding violin evolution this helps lead to improved crop plants that are more productive and sustainable.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Donald Danforth Plant Science CenterNote: Materials may be edited for content and length. / ScienceDaily.com 


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel H. Chitwood. Imitation, Genetic Lineages, and Time Influenced the Morphological Evolution of the ViolinPLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (10): e109229 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109229

Human creativity may have evolutionarily developed as a way for better bonds between parent and child

wpid-2012-01-23_17-24-24_507.jpgWe constantly hear about innovation and creativity. We hear of ways to activate the creative side of our brain. How to inspire ourselves and others to spur on new ideas. But, where did creativity come from? Why did we start thinking outside convention? Many will argue that it was necessity as our societies grew in size. That, after thousands of years, our social landscape and norms had shifted so drastically that we were required to change the way we accommodated our new lifestyles. But new research suggests that our creative development was for a more personal reason. We now go to Disneyland for more answers…

Evidence from Disneyland suggests that human creativity may have evolved not in response to sexual selection as some scientists believe but as a way to help parents bond with their children and to pass on traditions and cultural knowledge, a new study published in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropologysuggests.

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller of the University of New Mexico has suggested that human creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality, all evolved as forms of courtship behavior. He used evidence drawn from the Southern California tourist industry to underpin his argument. The work offers an explanation as to why the human brain is so much bigger relative to body size than that of other apes — sexual selection for greater intellect. Intriguingly, Miller has referred to the mind as “amusement park.” Now, anthropologists Craig Palmer of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Kathryn Coe of the University of Arizona beg to differ. Although Miller talks of the mind in such terms, he fails to include in his analysis the most famous amusement park in the world, Disneyland. Palmer and Coe suggest that this is one of the most dense concentrations in the world of exactly those aspects of culture — art, creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality — that Miller claims evolved as courtship displays. Writing in the IJTA, Palmer and Coe suggest that Miller’s hypothesis cannot account for the fact that Disneyland is fundamentally devoted to children. They reason that Disneyland and other similar amusement parks, support an alternative hypothesis that the creative aspects of the human brain may have evolved in the context of parents influencing their offspring, and offspring responding to their parents, not in the context of courtship. The researchers do concede that some tourism is related to courtship, and not just “honeymoon” tourism and that it often involves art, creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality as part of the attractions. The team argues, however, that “The brain circuitry involved in both the generation of, and response to, these traits was selected for because it enabled parents to increase their fitness by increasing their ability to influence their offspring.” The human brain increased in size through evolution as cultural traditions accumulated over numerous generations. “Traditions can last much longer than a generation or two and that the massive accumulation of traditional behavior is unique to our species as is the large brain,” the team concludes.