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Music is good for you

Music works like a drug, says Daniel J. Levitin, a neuroscientist from McGill University who wrote “This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.”

He told the New York Times “listening to music with others causes the release of oxytocin, a chemical associated with feelings of trust and bonding. That‘s partly why music listeners become so connected to the artists they like. Plus, the nucleus accumbens – the brain‘s well-known pleasure center – modulates levels of dopamine, the so-called feel-good hormone.

“Lots of people use music for emotional regulation,” Levitin continues. “It‘s similar to the way people use drugs such as caffeine and alcohol: they play a certain kind of music to help get them going in the morning, another kind to unwind after work. Brain surgeons perform their most concentration-intensive procedures while music plays in the background.”

Dr. Lawrence Chin, MDLawrence Chin MD, chairman of neurosurgery at Upstate, listens to music from his iPhone during operations. “I have an eclectic mix that includes classic rock, 70s, 80s, and 90s pop, some jazz and a tiny bit of rap,” he says. “I like music that is upbeat and energetic. I find it relaxing during a difficult case because it provides some relief from a tense part of the case. During very routine portions of the case, it helps break the monotony.”