According to a study out of Duke University, lifelong musicianship could potentially ward off the onset of neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or dementia for years. Walter Gefrom shares his thoughts on the study:
Last year, Duke University conducted a study involving musicians ranging in age from 20 to 67. Five of the participants were female; the rest were male. All of these individuals played piano or violin, beginning between the ages of 3 to 12, and continuing on to the present day. Musicians by practice and identity, these study participants are not casual hobbyists. Instead, they reportedly practice at least three to nine hours per day.
The study determined that these individuals were less likely than non-musicians to have substantial white matter brain damage. The white matter, known as myelin sheath, is what the immune system wages war on. In effect, causing MS disease progression, symptoms and all that comes with that.
It’s no secret that ‘keeping the brain active’ is vitally important for anyone. That’s especially true for individuals with MS or dementia. ‘Use it or lose it’ takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to these conditions. It’s also a huge part of why most doctors will recommend that MS patients take up a new hobby or place importance on learning new things. Keeping the brain active can make a world of difference physically and mentally. So Walter Gefrom is inclined to believe this element to Duke’s study. However, what concerns him about this study is that only five of the participants in the study were female. It is common knowledge that women are much more likely to develop MS than men. To date, women are two to three times more likely to develop MS than men.. And that number could rise. So considering this information, Gefrom believes more women should have been included in the study in order to garner a more accurate picture of what’s at play.