I have pretty exciting news to share. My latest article was published earlier this summer. In it I delve further into whether playing a musical instrument (music-making) can help keep our brain health as we get older.
A large part of my job encompasses researching and raising awareness about brain health. So last summer, I began thinking about the relationship between music and brain health i.e. could playing a musical instrument actually keep your brain healthy?
So, I carried out a search of the literature on ‘music and brain health’. This search returned zero, 0, results. I was shocked. This can’t be. I automatically assumed that I must have been using the wrong search terms. Surely, there had to have been research posing this question in the past? So I tried all types of different search terms but still, no results. There had been no research papers which explored the relationship between music making and brain health. Right then, I realised I needed to address this.
So, last summer, I began to write a paper with the goal of understanding the relationship between music-making and brain health in later life. One day as I was writing the paper, I got a notification from my family whatsapp group. My brother was wishing my Mum a ‘happy 64th birthday’ along with a link to the song ‘When I’m 64’ by the Beatles.
‘When I’m 64’ was released in 1967. In the UK, at that time, life expectancy of a man was 67 years of age and a woman 73 years of age. Jump forward 40 years to 2017, when a man is expected to live to 78 years of age and a woman 83 years of age. That’s quite a leap! A leap of over a decade in 40 years! This highlights the growing trend of our ageing population. We are living longer, but how can we live better for longer?
I had a lightbulb moment and this paper was born!
Flashforward to roughly a year later and the paper has just been published in the Journal of Experimental Gerontology. If you fancy read the paper, check it out here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31121221