Scientific study : Classical music can affect your genes

  • March 24, 2015
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Scientific study : Classical music can affect your genes


Listening to classical music can enhance the activity of genes influencing the flow of brain chemicals, learning and memory, a study has found.

But the study, by the University of Helsinki, found that the effect was only detectable in “musically experienced” listeners.

Several of the genes showing enhanced activity are also shared by songbirds, where they're responsible for song learning and singing, the researchers found. That suggests a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species, they added.

The biological factors behind music-listening are largely unknown, although music was known to induce several changes in brain cells and physiology.

The study found that such listening also enhanced the activity of genes involved in generating and transporting a brain chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine is known in turn to influence brain processes governing emotional response, movement, and the capacity for pleasure and pain.

The music was also associated with lower activity in genes linked to brain degeneration, the investigators found. On the other hand, they said, it increased activity in a gene called SNCA-which past research has tied to both Parkinson's disease risk and musical aptitude. SNCA is also believed to contribute to song learning in songbirds.

The Finnish researchers studied the effects in both musically experienced and inexperienced participants. All the participants listened to W.A. Mozart's violin concert No. 3 in G major, K. 216, which lasts 20 minutes.

The findings “suggest a shared evolutionary background of sound perception between vocalizing birds and humans,” said the study's lead author, Irma Järvelä, adding that they could also help give further insights into the effects of music therapy. The results are reported in the research journal PeerJ.

Source : http://www.world-science.net

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