Neuroplasticiy among Pianists

Background

Due to the extremely high quantity of motoric stimuli, the long time span one is exposed to this stimuli and the multimodality in the learning process of playing an instrument, professional musicians are an ideal group to study the principles of neuroplasticity in vivo. Studies could document different regions of the brain of musicians that show structural differences to the average population. In the brain of string instrument players e.g. you can see the so called „Omega-Sign“: an enlargement of the primary motor cortex of the right hemisphere in the area which is important for the movement of the left hand. In Pianists the „Omega-Sign“ could be showen on both hemispheres.

The idea of a time period in the maturation of neural networks of special susceptibility for strucutral changes plays an important role in plasticity research. Does the timepoint at which one is exposed to a certain stimulus matter for the shaping of the brain? Is it possible to define such a phase in the maturation of the brain in pianists?

 

 

Goals

  • reproduce previous findings in plasticity research
  • try to define the matter of age on the placticity of certain neuronal structures

Experiments

In a crosssectional study we analyze neuroimaging data (MRI scans) from professional pianists to study grey matter and white matter changes related to the age of onset of musical training. We are using structural scans as well as, DTI scans (which can show the three dimensional organisation of nervecell bundles) and Resting State scans (which give hints on the interconectivity of brain areas).

Involved persons

Publications

  • This project is still in the data analysis phase
 

Contact persons

  • Prof. Dr. Eckart Altenmüller

    Professor für Musikphysiologie und Musikermedizin, Direktor Institut für Musikphysiologie und Musikermedizin (IMMM), Vizepräsident Wissenschaft

    Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine
    Emmichplatz 1, 30175 Hannover
    Schiffgraben 48

    Phone: +49 (0)511 3100-553
    eckart.altenmueller@hmtm-hannover.de
    More information:

Last modified: 2015-12-09

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