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In her Speak Up essay, "Dancing With Outliers," Pamela Quinn explores some of the reasons she may have retained so much function despite her diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, and she urges neurologists to study "best-case scenarios" to figure out how patients can thrive with chronic conditions. I am also a best case person, with multiple sclerosis (MS). I was diagnosed at age 26. I am now 67 and have some limitations, but I can walk, and work and although my strength is sometimes limited, even my doctors say there is no evidence of progression. I believe it is because I started piano seriously at age 4 and my brain is more complex and has additional back up systems already in place. Like dance in Pamela Quinn's experience, direct music study has been shown to alter the development of the brain in young children. And like dance, music study is often begun at an early age. I wonder if bilingual children also show this type if advantage in progressive brain diseases. It surely says something for early music literacy.
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