Brief Communication abstract

Nature Neuroscience 8, 1148 - 1150 (2005)
Published online: 7 August 2005 | doi:10.1038/nn1516

Extensive piano practicing has regionally specific effects on white matter development

Sara L Bengtsson1, Zoltán Nagy1,2, Stefan Skare2, Lea Forsman1, Hans Forssberg1 & Fredrik Ullén1


Using diffusion tensor imaging, we investigated effects of piano practicing in childhood, adolescence and adulthood on white matter, and found positive correlations between practicing and fiber tract organization in different regions for each age period. For childhood, practicing correlations were extensive and included the pyramidal tract, which was more structured in pianists than in non-musicians. Long-term training within critical developmental periods may thus induce regionally specific plasticity in myelinating tracts.

  1. Department of Woman and Child Health, Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77, Stockholm, Sweden.
  2. Karolinska MR Research Centre, Karolinska Hospital, SE-171 77, Stockholm, Sweden.

Correspondence to: Fredrik Ullén1 e-mail:


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