Monday, July 28, 2003

We hope Margaret is enjoying her week at the Texas Lions Camp. Their website includes pictures and other info. Note the historic link back to the times of polio.

In 1949, the Texas Lions Camp became a legal entity. Since that time, close to 45,000 children have enjoyed the privilege of attending the Texas Lions Camp, at no cost to them or their families.

Located on 504 rolling acres in the Texas Hill Country, the camp was founded 50 years ago when Polio was at epidemic levels, ravaging the lives of countless children. A group of Lions, determined to meet the needs of these children, took action to charter what is now the Texas Lions camp.

Forty children attended the first camping session in 1953 and by the end of that summer, 236 children had attended camp. This year, the camp will hold nine camping sessions and plans to serve nearly 2,000 disabled and diabetic children. These children, sponsored by the Lions Clubs of the State of Texas, come from every part of the state.

With the help of the dedicated men and women of the Texas Lions Clubs for over 46,000 Texas children this dream has become a reality.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Music makes us smart, again...

Scientists have found an unexpected benefit of music lessons - they can boost word power.

Children with music training had significantly better verbal memory than others, according to today's study. Plus, the longer the training, the better the verbal memory. These findings underscore how, when experience changes a specific brain region, other skills in the same region may also benefit.

The research is reported in the journal Neuropsychology by Dr Agnes Chan and colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who studied 90 boys between six and 15. Half had musical training as members of their school's string orchestra for one to five years. The others had no musical training.

The researchers gave the children verbal memory tests, to see how many words they recalled from a list, and a comparable images test. Students with musical training recalled significantly more words than the untrained students, and were better at learning them. There were no such differences for visual memory.

It seems that the more that music training stimulates the brain, the better it can handle other tasks. The team likened it to the way that runners find that stronger legs help them play tennis better.

Another report has shown that training brain activity through a process called "neurofeedback" can improve musical performance by up to 17 per cent, the equivalent of one grade.

via The Telegraph (UK)