Category Archives: music

Why do we like music? – Infographic

As a guy with about 7000 songs on my iPhone, I found this fascinating.



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Lose Weight Listening to Music

Hoteliers and restaurateurs know that taste is only one aspect of a good meal. A recent British survey examined consumer responses over eighteen evenings. Diners were treated to classical music, pop music or no music during their meals. Results showed that people were willing to (and actually did) spend more money on the evenings they ate to the strains of classical music.

There are some fascinating ideas here. For a full rundown on weight control, please check out my Page – How to Lose Weight (and Keep it Off).


Our Better Health

How what you hear affects your food intake.

By Dee Van Dyk

How music affects the body

Music, said English poet and playwright William Congreve, has charms to soothe the savage beast. But does music have the power to quash the dieter’s appetite?

Maybe. After all, consider how widely your moods and memories are associated with music. Joggers know that you can press yourself a little farther with the right tunes coaxing you on; soothing music in the doctor’s or dentist’s office can help calm frightened patients. Spiritual music can inspire.

According to Brooklyn doctor Edward Podolsky, fast music ratchets up your metabolism and muscular energy, accelerating your heartbeat and elevating your blood pressure. A slow beat does the exact opposite.

What effect does music have on appetite?

Taste is the most obvious sense associated with food, but it is by no means the only sense we engage to enjoy…

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Music From iPods Helps Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

To clarify: Dementia is not a disease but a group of different diseases characterized by the gradual worsening of cognitive abilities. Dementia is seen across all ethnic groups and increasingly so with advancing age. Among 65–69-year-olds, about 2 percent are afflicted, with this figure doubling for every five years of age. Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases.

Regular readers know that I lost an aunt to Alzheimer’s and my mother suffered from dementia late in her life, so all aspects of these aberrations are important to me.

I ran across a fascinating article in about a project started by a social worker who was also a music fan. Dan Cohen “asked his local nursing home if he could come in and bring some digital music players with custom-made playlists to patients. Through trial and error, he learned what songs each patient liked and the ones they didn’t, then he remixed the play list accordingly. Every two weeks for 18 months, the patients Cohen worked with received updated songs. And he taught caregivers how to create playlists too.”

Cohen found immediate success. “Patients who used to be easily agitated soon seemed docile when a caregiver put headphones on them and encouraged them to listen. Others who were unresponsive suddenly lit up with awareness, and the ones who barely spoke suddenly wanted to converse.“

Now, after six years, Cohen’s small experiment has become a non-profit called Music and Memory. It has introduced iPods to over 50 nursing homes and assisted living centers in the U.S. and Canada. A documentary on it has become a viral sensation.

“The evidence isn’t just observational. Brain scans show that when people listen to music that’s autobiographical, music that evokes an important place, time or emotion for the listener, regions of the brain become stimulated, particularly the brain’s memory maker, the medial prefrontal cortex. That’s an important factor for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

Concetta Tomaino, D.A., executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Functions in New York says that it isn’t just Alzheimer’s and dementia patients who can benefit from this kind of music therapy.

She says, “ … when the auditory system is stimulated it can even override pain signals, providing relief in a way medicine sometimes cannot. Chemical changes occur, too, when patients hear music. Scientific evidence shows that listening to music you enjoy increases serotonin in the brain and decreases the stress hormone cortisol.”


I was not able to find a link for Cohen’s Music and Memory group. The film was done several years ago.

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Filed under aging, Alzheimer's, dementia, depression, iPods, mental health, music

Musical Training Shapes Brain Anatomy and Affects Function

“As today’s findings show, intense musical training generates new processes within the brain, at different stages of life, and with a range of impacts on creativity, cognition, and learning.”

Cooking with Kathy Man

New findings show that extensive musical training affects the structure and function of different brain regions, how those regions communicate during the creation of music, and how the brain interprets and integrates sensory information. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the

These insights suggest potential new roles for musical training including fostering plasticity in the brain, an alternative tool in education, and treating a range of learning disabilities.

Today’s new findings show that:

  • Long-term high level musical training has a broader impact than previously thought. Researchers found that musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight (see source).
  • The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult; beginning training before the age of seven has the greatest impact (see source).
  • Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance…

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Ode to Billy Joe – Bobby Gentry

I wrote this for my other blog, but since it is a post of gratitude and appreciation to an artist for a splendid creation, I thought it belonged here, too.

Willing Wheeling

I have Sirius Satellite Radio in my car and my presets include music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. On a recent ride, Ode to Billie Joe came on and I found myself haunted by the writing as well as being transported by the eerie music backing it. I was really happy to learn that Bobbie Gentry, the singer, wrote it and this was her debut recording.

Although it was created just short of 50 years ago, I doubt that any current readers are not familiar with the song.

Here is the first verse:
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door “y’all remember to wipe your feet”
And then she said “I got some…

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