I watched a fascinating show on KCET this weekend called Musical Minds. It was a show about how music affects the brain, and how music can be used to control certain neurological diseases. The show discussed how music can be used to focus the mind of neurological patients. These patients cannot function normally in public and yet, when they played music, the transformation was miraculous. Oliver Sacks, the neurologist featured in the show, is also an accomplished piano player. A functional MRI of his brain was performed while he listened or imagined listening to a piece of music. The MRI showed increase blood flow to multiple areas of the brain. Increased blood flow to any organ, assuming it is not due to a disease process, will result in better oxygenation and a healthier organ.
Keeping the mind active has been shown to delay or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. It will also keep the mind “sharp” even in older age. My father, who is a retired physician, has one of the sharpest minds around. He has written two movie scripts and a book, and is looking for a publisher. He is 88 years old! His secret is keeping busy, both physically and mentally.
There is more and more evidence the brain is like a muscle. If one trains it every day, it will stay stronger. My Orange County plastic surgery patients always seek plastic surgery of the face and body. Have you ever considered plastic surgery for your brain?
Learning to play a musical instrument is a wonderful way of keeping the brain active. Learning a musical instrument will teach us patience, concentration, discipline and the joy of performing a piece of music. Every time we are learning a new piece, there are new connections forming in our brain. The brain is not a static organ, and will adapt according to the information presented to it, regardless of age (this is called plasticity in medical terms).
If you have a family, learning an instrument and playing together is a wonderful time to bond with each other. There are numerous ensemble sheet music available, covering basic to advanced musical abilities.
I hope you will consider plastic surgery for the mind as seriously as you do for your body.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon, with over 10 years of experience. His office is located in Santa Ana, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.