How Massage Heals Sore Muscles (NY Times)

 Feb 6, 2012

Researchers are learning how massage soothes aching muscles.They [Researchers] found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair.

Erik says: I've used massage to recover from gruelling rehearsal weeks or just as regular maintenance. For me, getting a massage is like putting oil in your car. If I don't do it, I eventually run into problems that take longer to solve. In our very own dance community we have theraputic massage specialists, one of my favorites is Bobby Nieto.

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A Sharper Mind, Middle Age and Beyond (NYTimes)

January 19, 2012

When Dr. Lachman and Dr. Tun reviewed the results, they were surprised to discover that into middle age and beyond, people could make up for educational disadvantages encountered earlier in life. Everyone in the study who regularly did more to challenge their brains — reading, writing, attending lectures or completing word puzzles — did better on fluid intelligence tests than their counterparts who did less.

As it turns out, one essential element of mental fitness has already been identified. “Education seems to be an elixir that can bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life,” says Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University who specializes in aging. For those in midlife and beyond, a college degree appears to slow the brain’s aging process by up to a decade, adding a new twist to the cost-benefit analysis of higher education — for young students as well as those thinking about returning to school.

Erik says: There are a number of good studies that indicate that learning to dance and playing an instrument also challenges the brain in beneficial ways.

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Social Networking Affects Brains Like Falling in Love

As Zak and others deepen their study of oxytocin, we may better understand why people with friends live longer and get sick less, and why we are compelled to be social animals online and off. If these changes apply in the world of social media, the implications for business.

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10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immunity (Shape)

Regular, moderate exercise can boost several aspects of your body's self-defense system. "Physical activity not only strengthens your cardiovascular system," Berk says, "it improves your mood and reduces stress." (see tip #8)

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Newborn infants detect the beat in music (PNAS)

To shed light on how humans can learn to understand music, we need to discover what the perceptual capabilities with which infants are born. Beat induction, the detection of a regular pulse in an auditory signal, is considered a fundamental human trait that, arguably, played a decisive role in the origin of music. Theorists are divided on the issue whether this ability is innate or learned. We show that newborn infants develop expectation for the onset of rhythmic cycles (the downbeat), even when it is not marked by stress or other distinguishing spectral features. Omitting the downbeat elicits brain activity associated with violating sensory expectations. Thus, our results strongly support the view that beat perception is innate.

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Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly (NE Journal of Medicine)

New England Journal of Medicine - Among leisure activities, reading, playing board games, playing musical instruments, and dancing were associated with a reduced risk of dementia.

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