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Music Makes you Smarter Genetically

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Playing music enhances gene activity related to memory, learning, motor behavior and dopaminergic neurotransmission, a new study says.

A Finnish research group carried out the study on musicians from a professional orchestra and music university, the ScienceDaily website reported on Friday.

“The findings provide a valuable background for molecular studies of music perception and evolution, and music therapy,” said study leader Dr Irma Järvelä.

The group investigated the effect performing music had on the musicians during a two-hour long concert.

The study also revealed that some of the activated genes are known to be involved in biological pathways, such as calcium ion homeostasis and iron ion homeostasis, which are vital to neuronal functions and survival.

According to the group, musical performance has been proven to stimulate functional and structural alterations in the human brain and increase cognitive activity.

However, the fundamental molecular mechanisms of music performance had never been thoroughly researched.

Some of the genes activated by musical performance, such as SNCA, FOS and DUSP1, are known contributors to song perception and production in songbirds, which suggests a possible evolutionary conservation in molecular mechanisms linked to the production of sound throughout various species.

Dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter from the catecholamine and phenethylamine families and functions as a chemical signal released by nerve cells to send messages to other nerve cells in the brain. One of the dopamine systems of the brain plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior.


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