Sunday, November 21, 2021

Listening to favourite music improves brain function in Alzheimer’s patients

 WONDER DRUG:  Penicillin slows devastating impacts of rheumatic heart disease in children from Uganda.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW:  Do-It-Yourself artificial pancreas given approval by team of experts.

GOOD:  ‘Dancing molecules’ successfully repair severe spinal cord injuries in mice.

Listening to favourite music improves brain function in Alzheimer’s patients - University of Toronto: “Repeated listening to personally meaningful music induces beneficial brain plasticity in patients with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s disease, a new study by researchers at the University of Toronto and Unity Health Toronto suggests. Changes in the brain’s neural pathways correlated with increased memory performance on neuropsychological tests, supporting the clinical potential of personalized, music-based interventions for people with dementia. The multi-modal study was published this week in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. “We have new brain-based evidence that autobiographically salient music – that is, music that holds special meaning for a person, like the song they danced to at their wedding – stimulates neural connectivity in ways that help maintain higher levels of functioning,” says Michael Thaut, senior author of the study, director of U of T’s Music and Health Science Research Collaboratory and a professor in both the Faculty of Music and Temerty Faculty of Medicine. “Typically, it’s very difficult to show positive brain changes in Alzheimer’s patients. These preliminary yet encouraging results show improvement in the integrity of the brain, opening the door to further research on therapeutic applications of music for people with dementia – musicians and non-musicians alike,” says Thaut, who also holds the tier one Canada Research Chair in Music, Neuroscience and Health. The researchers reported structural and functional changes in neural pathways of study participants, notably in the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s control centre where deep cognitive processes occur. The researchers showed that exposing the brains of patients with early-stage cognitive decline to autobiographically salient music activated a distinct neural network – a musical network – composed of diverse brain regions that showed differences in activation after a period of daily music listening.”

Furia is a tense, eight-part thriller with a dark, twist laden plot involving two key protagonists and four different identities.

Set against the backdrop of two of Europe’s most distinguished capital cities – Oslo and Berlin – as well as rural western Norway, Furia sees them work in tandem to bring down a terrifying far right terror cell and heal the grief that drives them.

An edge of your seat mix of undercover thriller and prescient political drama, the story centres around a far right extremist terror cell, hellbent on carrying out an atrocity the likes of which Europe has never seen before.


Microsoft Augmented reality project involving Microsoft brings Olympics birthplace to life [includes video]: “Digitally preserving and restoring Ancient Olympia as it stood over 2,000 years ago – Ancient Olympia is home to institutions and ideals that have shaped the world as we know it. Now, Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds—a new collaboration between the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and Microsoft—is harnessing AI to digitally preserve and restore this rich site for future generations by bringing its structures and cultural impact to life like never before. Visitors from around the world flock to Ancient Olympia to get a glimpse of its “ruins,” the material remains of its glorious past. But this archaeological site in Greece stands for much more than ancient history. The legacies that emerged from this cultural crossroads—from the ancient Olympic Games to art and architecture to civic ideals—remain as vivid and vital as ever. 

Today, 27 major monuments and many minor ones still stand in Ancient Olympia. Among them, the original Olympic Stadium. The temples of Zeus and Hera. The workshop of the renowned sculptor Phidias. These monuments survived thousands of years of weather, war, earthquakes, and modernization. They are meticulously conserved and restored by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. But they are in need of digital preservation as well, to ensure that all the evidence of the rich history and civil common ground values that the site was built upon is handed over to future generations.

That’s why the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports is collaborating with Microsoft to create Common Grounds, a digital revival project that aims to preserve and restore valuable pieces of our past and empower global audiences to embrace the idea of finding common ground through our shared history. Now, with help from AI technology, viewers can explore Ancient Olympia as it stood in its glory more than 2,000 years ago with an immersive experience that allows fans of history, sports, arts, and culture to interact virtually with the buildings and artifacts from the historic site…”