Sunday, March 29, 2009

From the Week of March 29th

MUSICAL PHARMACOLOGY. An article in The New York Times introduced us to the self-described "first musical pharmacologist," Vera Brandes, the director of a research program in music and medicine at an Austrian university. Ms. Brandes applies her prescriptions of custom music to psychosomatic disorders, pain management, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. A pilot study by Ms. Brandes used a music program to address hypertension, with clinically significant results, according to the article. Other researchers envision the use of music to treat psychiatric conditions, endocrine, autonomic, and autoimmune disorders. Read the article, and decide for yourself whether music therapy might someday help that twice-exceptional child you know.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND, the April/May issue, just arrived in our mail, and there are several articles and items that might interest those who raise, teach, and counsel high-ability kids with learning difficulties. One article is a Q&A with Daniel Tammet, an "autistic savant" who can recite the first 22,514 digits of pi. He describes how his mind "sees" numbers and words -- they have form, color, and texture which suggest relationships among them. He describes his "limited, repetitive, and antisocial" childhood behavior, and how he taught himself social skills. And instead of focusing on IQ, he suggests that we focus on making sure "each child's talents are encouraged and nourished." Read the article. For adults who want to sharpen their skills with medical and health-related statistics (what's that medical professional really telling you, anyway?), the issue offers an article called "Knowing Your Chances," accessible online. Also accessible without charge (three out of three!) is a collection of reviews of brain training software, including two programs intended for improving working memory in children with AD/HD. One is called BrainTwister, and the other is Working Memory Training from Cogmed, the company with which Dr. David Rabiner is associated. (See other posts in the blog for more in Rabiner and Cogmed.) Read the reviews.

MORE ITEMS as the week progresses...

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