What is a neural biomarker? Neural Biomarkers are molecules that indicate the presence of a disease or dysfunction. You could think of them like traffic black spots, meaning junctions or parts of the road which seem to have more accidents, or cause more bottlenecks or problems.
Researchers are using biomarkers more frequently to build a roadmap for different diseases or dysfunctions. Much like traffic black spots, once we identify the place that is causing the problems, we can work to correct or improve the black spot.
Interestingly, there are auditory processing biomarkers for dysfunctions we may not have previously thought were related to the processing of sound – Dyslexia, ADHD and ADD. To get all technical, “Affected children demonstrated neuroanatomical changes in left AC (auditory cortex) and a pronounced asynchrony of left and right hemispheric activation.” In plainer English, this means issues with processing sound effectively and sharing that information across the two halves of the brain.
The researchers built on top of the researcher that found that music learning could improve these “traffic black spots”. Hence, they used a music learning intervention to see if they could track changes in the auditory cortex and hemispheric activation in children with dyslexia, ADHD and ADD.
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This is what they found, “Noteworthy, in children playing a musical instrument, after three and a half years of training the observed interhemispheric asynchronies were reduced by about 2/3, thus suggesting a strong beneficial influence of music experience on brain development.” This could have implications for the use of music learning in an educational context. Read the full article for more information.