International News Desk – At Home: Music Hath Charms – Around the World: Memory Matters

International News Desk – At Home: Music Hath Charms – Around the World: Memory Matters

At Home: Music Hath Charms

Serious illness doesn’t seem like something one would want to sing about. But for many children, expressing their feelings and concerns about sickness, health, and treatments can be therapeutic. And few things help do that job better than Band Wagon 1, a mobile recording studio now in use at BC children’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC.

As The Globe and Mail reports, the sophisticated studio allows children to create and preserve ?songs, drumming and guitar riffs they come up with in music-therapy sessions.? It is fully mobile, yet can produce ?studio-quality recordings on the spot? and boasts software that can help kids ?create layered pop tunes in the style of their music idols.?

Best of all, children from any ward are now able to create music to cope with ?pain, nausea or fatigue from treatments such as bone transplants? and sort out ?intense feelings of anger, sadness or celebration.? As hospital music therapist Erin Johnston told reporters, ?Music is a really emotive therapy that we can use to allow them some means to express some of these high emotions.?

Fundraising to create similar mobile studios nationwide will begin this fall.

Around the World: Memory Matters

Scientists have traditionally believed that as we age, the neurons in our brains decay and eventually die, causing us to gradually forget and lose focus. However, new research offers hope for the aging population: neural decay isn’t necessarily permanent, and may even be reversible.

As National Geographic‘s Daily News Site reports, scientists discovered that certain chemicals given to monkeys ?blocked a brain molecule that slows the firing of the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, as we age?prompting those nerve cells to act young again.?

Scientists believe that It’s the interaction among neurons, facilitated by an appropriate neurochemical environment, that marks the difference between young brains and those of the elderly. This particularly makes a difference in the area of memory, because the neurons need to be able to ?excite each other to keep working memories on the brain’s slate.?

The chemical used in the study would help keep the neurochemical environment healthy in order to promote neuron interaction.

The researchers are cautious but hopeful that the study may lead to drugs that improve working memory in humans.