Playing For Time: Can Music Stave Off Dementia?

In return, you get an MP3 of the song forever — and, since 2009 , that song has come without any restrictions on its use. The Locker For some yearly fee, Apple (or, again, Amazon) will store all the music you own on its servers. It is one of the more recent entrants to the field and relatively simple to understand: All the music you have already purchased, just online. The Stream The prototypical example here is Pandora. You tell a company a song or artist or genre you like, and its algorithm selects music you also might like. Notice the severe restrictions on use (you cant make a movie and use Pandora music as your soundtrack!) and the lack of choice (the service limits you from playing too many songs from the same artist or album!). Often, these services are ad-supported, although, last month, Rdio tacked this feature onto its subscription service. The Library A service maintains a large library of recorded music on its servers, and you can listen to whatever you want from that library however much you want. (If you want fifteen straight hours of Genesis, you can play fifteen straight hours of Genesis!) The two big Library companies are Spotify, which is connected* to Facebook and which allows free users to listen to music intermixed with ads; and Rdio, which has no ads but is only available to paid subscribers. Though it gives the user more choice, The Library shares many economics with The Stream: there are restrictions on what you do with the music (you still cant set it to a montage!), and its payments for the musicians tend to be pretty paltry . The YouTube The website, owned by Google and ostensibly for sharing video, is without peer in the world of music services. According to a 2012 Nielsen study , nearly two-thirds of American teenagers listen to music on the site, more than any other any other medium. And its not hard to see why: With its ubiquity, large library, recommendation engine, and cost (free!), it combines some of the most attractive aspects of The Library, The Stream, and The Locker. And, thanks to pre-roll and display ads, listening to music on the service also supports musicians and record labels, though at Library-like levels. * The original published version of this article said Spotify was owned by Facebook. This was totally wrong.

The study also doesn’t include brain imaging or autopsies, so the precise mechanism — how engagement in activities would prevent dementia — is unknown. The brain’s backup There is other emerging evidence that playing music could help prevent dementia. Hanna-Pladdy, the Emory neuropsychologist, is interested in exploring the biological underpinnings further. Her theory agrees with Gatz’s: Brain networks that have been strengthened by musical engagement compensate to delay the detrimental effects of aging, a process called cognitive reserve. So far her research has demonstrated that extensive musical instrumental training, even in amateur musicians, provides a cognitive benefit that can last throughout a person’s life. Her studies were published in 2011 in the journal Neuropsychology and in 2012 in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience ; they included instrumentalists, not singers. Hanna-Pladdy and her colleagues found in their first study that even if participants did not continue playing music as they aged, they still performed better at tasks of object-naming, visuospatial memory and rapid mental processing and flexibility than those who didn’t play at all — as long as they had played for at least 10 years. That’s critical because as they age, people may lose motor skills or eyesight that prevents them from playing their instruments. Tell us your story! We love to hear from our audience. Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter and Facebook for the latest health news and let us know what we’re missing.

Music to Your Ears: The Echo Nest Joins Forces with Nuance’s Intelligent Voice Technology

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