Neuroplastic effects of music lessons on hippocampal volume in children with congenital hypothyroidism.

Author: Zendel BR, Willoughby KA, Rovet JF.
Affiliation: aInternational Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), Département de Psychologie, Université de Montréal bCentre de Recherche, Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec cNeuroscience and Mental Health Research Program dDepartment of Pediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children eDepartment of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Neuroreport.
Date published: 2013 Sep 23
Other: Word Count: 153

Children with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) who experience a neonatal thyroid hormone deficiency have reduced hippocampal volumes compared with healthy controls. Interestingly, evidence suggests that musical training can contribute to structural plasticity in a number of brain areas, including the hippocampus. Therefore, we investigated whether taking music lessons could ameliorate the volumetric reductions of the hippocampus in children with CH. Left and right hippocampal volumes were measured in four groups of children: children with CH with and without music lessons, and healthy controls with and without music lessons. We found that the volume of the right hippocampus was comparable between children with CH who had taken music lessons and the healthy controls. Children with CH who had not taken music lessons had reduced hippocampal volumes compared with the other three groups. These results suggest that music lessons may induce structural neuroplasticity in children with atypical hippocampal development because of early thyroid hormone deficiencies.
PMID: 24064411