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When Melia Bonomo wants to kick back and relax, she turns to music and the gentle melodies of pop star Ed Sheeran. Like many people, the physicist feels her mood lift with certain tunes, a change doctors exploit to improve the health of patients with cognitive impairments. But some patients are unresponsive to music therapy. And it remains unclear exactly what restorative changes music actually induces in the brain. New results from Bonomo, a graduate student at Rice University, Texas, and her colleagues suggest that clues to both of these problems lie in how the brain responds to a listener’s favorite tune. Bonomo was set to share her findings in a session on the physics of the brain at the March Meeting of the American Physical Society earlier last month. (The meeting was canceled due to concerns about the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, but Physics is reporting on some of the results that would have been presented.)

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Category: Science