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Musical education, not only at a young age but also into adulthood, could have a significant and lasting impact on the development of the brain as well as on speech awareness, a study published in the The Journal of Neurosciencereveals.

According to the researchers from Canada's Rotman Institute, practicing music before the age of 14 and carrying it on intensively for at least another 10 years could “shape” the brain, making it respond more efficiently to what it hears.

To verify their theory, the scientists gathered 10 musicians and 10 non-musicians aged between 55 and 75. They each heard various fragments of speeches — sometimes simple onomatopoeias — through headphones, while the researchers monitored their neuronal activity.

They found that the musicians' cerebral behavior was two to three times more efficient than the non-musicians', as their processing of the speech information was much more detailed and precise.

For the authors of the study, this shows just how important an early musical education can be in the prevention against neurodegenerative disorders later in life.

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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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