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Milan, February 12 2008 From June 25 to 28, physicians, researchers, and psychologists focusing on the new perspectives emerging from the combined study of neurosciences and music, will gather in Montreal at the McGill University for the international conference: The Neurosciences and music III Disorders and plasticity that the Fondazione Pierfranco e Luisa Mariani ONLUS has organized on the wave of the extraordinary success of two similar events previously presented in Venice (2002) and Leipzig (2005).

The upcoming conference is enhanced by the major partnership of BRAMS / International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research, as well as McGill University co-hosting the meeting , MNIH / Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, Universit de Montral, and will benefit from the continuing cooperation with the New York Academy of Sciences for the ensuing publication.

The scientific committee includes Isabelle Peretz (Universit de Montral and BRAMS), Robert Zatorre (McGill University, MNIH and BRAMS), Virginia Penhune (Concordia University and BRAMS) and Giuliano Avanzini (Istituto Neurologico C. Besta); the scientific secretariat is coordinated by Luisa Lopez (Center for Developmental Disabilities "Eugenio Litta" and University of Rome Tor Vergata).

In addition to a substantial series of symposia, the program includes two poster sessions and a workshop on methodological aspects of research, addressed to those seeking more in-depth information on research criteria in the field of neurosciences.

Every lecture will relate to the main theme of the conference, centered on the study of perception and processing of music in physiologic and pathologic conditions, with special focus on cerebral plasticity mechanisms. The decision to concentrate on Disorders and plasticity is inspired explains Dr. Robert Zatorre by the current strong interest of neuroscience experts on brain plasticity and, in particular, on the study of how the musicians brain processes musical information.

The conference will develop on seven symposia on different themes, where the worlds foremost researchers in this field will present the most significant and sometimes controversial results of their recent research activities.

A symposium coordinated by Joel Snyder, Edward Large and Virginia Penhune is dedicated to the perception and processing of musical rhythm. Researchers will present results made possible through the application of fMRI.

Christo Pantev coordinates the symposium on neuronal plasticity induced by musical training. The discussion will focus on the biological bases of the effects on the brain induced by listening and musical training and on the cognitive abilities of individuals with normal and pathologic neurodevelopment.

The symposium coordinated by Barbara Tillmann regards musical memory. Until recently, the biological bases of musical memory have been a relatively unexplored field, deserving further studies because of their implications on neurocognitive functions in both healthy and impaired development.

Another symposium, coordinated by Simone Dalla Bella and Steven Brown, focuses on vocal performance. Studies carried out on non-musicians will confirm the overall musical potential of man and explore the pathologic implications connected with the inability to sing.

Daniel Levitin and Mari Tervaniemi will coordinate the symposium on the perception of emotions in music, examining this aspect in the newborn, but also in healthy or autistic individuals.

Giuliano Avanzini and Katie Overy organize the symposium on the relationship between music and language, in particular between music, prosody and motor programming in the human brain. Presentations will deal with the inability to perceive and process certain fundamental components of music in individuals affected by amusia, and the implications of these results for music neuropsychology.

Lastly, Gottfried Schlaug will illustrate in detail the possibilities offered by music in neuro-rehabilitation.

A special session called New Directions will be dedicated to the possibility of appreciating music by cochlear implant carriers. Robert Shannon, Sandra Trehub and Nina Kraus will take part to this session.

A core section of the program includes a keynote lecture by Steven Mithen - author of the book Singing Neanderthals. The origins of music, language, mind and body - who will provide insights on the anthropological dimension of the relationship between music and neurosciences.


Contact: Renata Brizzi
Fondazione Mariani Onlus

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