Structural and Functional Changes in the Brains of Guitarist Musicians: Volumetric, VBM, and Resting State fMRI Study
1Department of Anatomy, Arel University Faculty of Medicine, İstanbul, Türkiye
2Department of Anatomy, Kirsehir Ahi Evran University Faculty of Medicine, Kirsehir, Türkiye
3Department of Neurology, The Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
4Department of Medical Services and Techniques, Ondokuz Mayis University, Vocational School of Health Services, Samsun, Türkiye
5Department of Biostatistics, Erciyes University Faculty of Medicine, Kayseri, Türkiye
6Department of Music, Erciyes University Faculty of Fine Arts, Kayseri, Türkiye
7Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, USA
J Clin Pract Res 2024; 46(1): 47-57 DOI: 10.14744/cpr.2024.98608
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Objective: Musicians acquire intricate motor and auditory skills from an early age, serving as an exemplary model for brain plasticity. This study aimed to investigate the structural and functional differences in the brains between guitar-playing musicians and non-musicians.
Materials and Methods: Cortical thickness measurements, volumetric analysis of the corpus callosum and hippocampus, voxel-based morphometry (VBM), and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were applied to a magnetic resonance imaging dataset from 14 male young adult guitar players and 10 matched non-musicians.
Results: A structural asymmetry, mainly localized to hippocampal regions including the stratum radiatum, lacunosum, and moleculare, was found in the musicians’ group. VBM analysis demonstrated increased volume in the frontal middle and inferior gyri (left), precuneus (right), insula (right), and Brodmann areas 7 and 13 in the musician group compared to non-musicians. There were no statistical differences between musicians and non-musicians in terms of corpus callosum and hippocampal subfield volumes. Although cortical thickness measured at different locations was higher in the musician group than in the non-musician group, these differences were not statistically significant (p>0.05). No significant functional connectivity alterations were found within the default mode network between musicians and non-musicians (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Playing a musical instrument triggers rapid integration of multi-sensory information in the context of musical performance. The functional state of rest has contributed significantly to understanding musicians’ brain networks.