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article imagePiano tuning helps to 'shape' the brain

By Tim Sandle     Aug 30, 2012 in Science
New research, which studied the brains of piano tuners compared to the brains of other people, showed that piano tuners have different and more complex neural pathways.
British scientists based at University College London (UCL) and Newcastle University have found that structural changes occur within the brains of professional piano tuners, according to Medical Express. The changes were specific to the hippocampus, which governs memory and navigation. Changes occurred within the grey matter (nerve cells where information is processed) and the white matter (nerve connections).
According to a UCL research note the findings came from a long-term examination of the brains of nineteen piano tuners and comparing the findings with nineteen people who have never tuned a piano.
The scientists also found that the greater the number of years spent piano tuning the more complex the changes to the brain were. The information, according to Zee News, was revealed through brain scans (magnetic resonance imaging).
The research team was led by Professor Tim Griffiths and published in the journal Neuroscience. The findings followed some recent research into London taxi drivers, according to the BBC, who also experienced changes to their brains as they build up detailed geographical information about London's labyrinth of streets.
The findings could help scientists learn more about diseases thought to be caused by imbalances in brain inhibition and excitation, including autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
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