Over at RedNova, they just ran an article about "using or losing" your mental skills with a bit of a twist - learning to play an instrument. A study from Illinois is suggesting that study participants achieved a 50 to 70% improvement in their memory over a period of 18 months during which time they learned to play a new instrument.
The scientific underpinning would seem to be the observation that short-term memory was improved for these individuals. Some researchers beleive that short-term memory strengthening can lead to delay or in some cases prevention of Alzheimer's.
Here is the story: