“Taking music lessons increases brain fiber connections in children and may be useful in treating autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to a study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America,” reads a report in last Monday’s (11/21) Science Daily (Rockville, MD). “The researchers studied 23 healthy children between the ages of five and six years old [with] no history of sensory, perception or neurological disorders…. Study participants underwent pre- and post-musical-training evaluation with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) … an advanced MRI technique, which identifies microstructural changes in the brain’s white matter…. In healthy white matter, the direction of extracellular water molecules is fairly uniform and measures high in fractional anisotropy. When water movement is more random, FA values decrease, suggesting abnormalities…. After the children in the study completed nine months of musical instruction using Boomwhackers—percussion tubes cut to the exact length to create pitches in a diatonic scale—DTI results showed an increase in FA and axon fiber length in different areas of the brain … Researchers believe that the results of this study could aid in creating targeted strategies for intervention in treating disorders like autism and ADHD.”

Posted November 28, 2016