Dr Michael Mosley says a change of hobby can improve memory and mental health

Michael Mosley
Michael Mosley -Credit:Plum Pictures / Channel 4

Dr Michael Mosley has pinpointed an activity that not only combats depression and boosts memory but also tackles chronic inflammation.

The health guru, renowned for his 5:2 and Fast 800 diet plans, has identified a somewhat unexpected method to enhance wellbeing, with scientific evidence to back it up. On his BBC Podcast, Dr Mosley praised the power of music and recommended people to start playing a musical instrument, regardless of their age.

He said: "There is certainly good evidence that playing a musical instrument however badly can improve mental health. In a recent study, 45 men and women who were using mental health services were randomly assigned to either 90 minutes a week playing the drums or a control group."

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He shared the research results: "After 10 weeks, there was a significant fall in the drum players, levels of anxiety and depression and even more impressively, these effects were maintained for three months after the sessions finished."

Dr Mosley didn't stop at mental health benefits; he also highlighted the physical ones: "Interestingly, many mental health conditions are now thought to be linked to levels of chronic inflammation in the body. So in this study, the researchers also measured markers of inflammation like interleukin four along with improvements in mood. These markers also improved but only in the drum players.", reports the Mirror.

Dr Sofia Seinfeld, a researcher from Catalonia's Open University, recently appeared on a TV programme to discuss why it's never too late to learn to play an instrument, spotlighting the cognitive benefits that come with it. Her remarks underline how tickling the ivories or strumming a guitar can give your brainpower a leg up by stimulating areas connected to motor coordination and emotional processing, Gloucestershire Live reports.

Seinfeld's research involved 20 participants between the ages of 60 and 85 who had never played the piano but showcased an eagerness to start. They received daily lessons and were assigned 45 minutes of practice every day.

Their prowess was then pitted against others who invested their time in hobbies such as painting, computer sessions, or sports.

She elucidated further: "We took cognitive measures before the study and after the study in order to see what specific benefits music could have compared to leisure activities and both groups showed improvements in their cognitive functions. But musical training produced significantly higher improvements in executive functions, divided attention and in inventory control, these are skills that we normally require in our everyday life, for example, to plan our day or when we are cooking and we have to follow a recipe."

"The type of cognitive abilities that music enhances are cognitive functions that we also use in our everyday life activities. And also we also found that it improved the mood of the participants and their emotional state. ".