Posted on Jul 18, 2016, 6 a.m.
Listening to classical music prompts biological changes in the brain that may promote learning and memory.
Listening to music represents a complex cognitive function of the human brain, which is known to induce several neuronal and physiological changes. Chakravarthi Kanduri, from the University of Helsinki (Finland), and colleagues investigated how listening to classical music affected the gene expression profiles of both musically experienced and inexperienced participants. All the participants listened to W.A. Mozart's violin concert Nr 3, G-major, K.216 that lasts 20 minutes. The researchers observed that listening to music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic function, learning and memory. One of the most up-regulated genes, synuclein-alpha (SNCA) is a known risk gene for Parkinson's disease that is located in the strongest linkage region of musical aptitude. Listening to music also down-regulated genes that are associated with neurodegeneration, referring to a neuroprotective role of music.
Kanduri C, Raijas P, Ahvenainen M, Philips AK, Ukkola-Vuoti L, Lahdesmaki H, Jarvela I. “The effect of listening to music on human transcriptome.” PeerJ. 2015 Mar 12;3:e830.