Posts Tagged ‘Health’

You may have already heard, but Mickey HartGrateful Dead percussionist, and neurologist Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the University of California San Francisco made history by becoming the first to sonify and visualize brain activity in real time in front of a live audience. The two did so at the closing session of Life @50+, the AARP National Event & Expo in New Orleans on September 22. Watch the video below.

Dr. Gazzaley has extensively studied how the brain handles memory, attention and aging. Gazzaley awed the crowd midway through the session by strapping an EEG on Hart as he paced, clutching a drum, while images of the rhythms coursing through his brain were displayed on the giant screens throughout the hall. As the audience looked on, Gazzaley explained what was happening, adjusting to show more or fewer rhythms coursing through Mickey’s brain. “This is scary,” Mickey joked. He went on to say the following:

“It all comes down to vibration and the rhythm of things. Can you imagine being able to entrain with these rhythms and focus on a certain part of the brain? To be able to see what part of the brain lights up while you play a certain instrument, a certain rhythm at a certain amplitude. What does the brain look like before, during, and after an auditory driving experience? This is about breaking the rhythm code, our genome project. Once we know what rhythm truly does, then we’ll be able to control it, and use it medicinally for diagnostics, for health reasons. To be able to reconnect the synapses, the connections that are broken in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, that’s where we are heading. I’ve been working in my field for many years and so has Adam, it’s a handshake between science and art. Life is all about rhythm, and the brain is Rhythm Central.”

Gazzaley explained:

“There are many simultaneous rhythms in the brain. The rhythms of your brain are now understood to be a critical factor in perception, decision making, memory, attention and language. Moreover, the rhythms in different brain areas synchronize, allowing them to communicate with each other like kids on a swing. Brain rhythms are also related to many brain diseases, the most obvious being Parkinson’s and Tinnitus, where you see a tremor and hear a ringing in your ear. You might not think of depression, ADHD, schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease, but they all reveal changes in the brain’s rhythms.”

Hart demonstrated the natural power of group rhythmic entrainment by leading a 1,000 person drum circle. Hart and Gazzaley’s collaboration reinforced recent studies that show that playing a musical instrument can exercise and strengthen the aging brain. Their mission is to raise money to launch additional research on the positive interplay between rhythm, music and cognitive health, and once and for all prove what many already know.

To support this research at UCSF, visit:


Two nights ago one of the scariest things that could happen in the concert industry happened in Indiana. Right before Sugarland was to come on during the Indiana State Fair, a large storm brewed up and large gusts of wind blew the stage over. According to this article, the opener, Sara Bareilles, had just finished her set and Sugarland was getting ready to come on. Bareilles says,

“The accident at the Indiana State Fair felt like a bad dream. The weather changed in a matter of minutes and the stage collapsed in a matter of seconds. We are shocked and saddened by this horribly tragic circumstance and we are all praying for those affected.”

More than 40 people were injured in the stage collapse and five people were killed. One of those killed was stagehand Nate Byrd, 51, who was on the stage rigging to run the show’s spotlight. He died on Sunday at Methodist Hospital. Killed on the scene were Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah, Indiana; Glenn Goodrich, 49, of Indianapolis; Alina BigJohny, 23 of Fort Wayne and Christina Santiago, 29, of Chicago, according to the Marion County Coroner’s office.

Amateur video from the grandstands shows the weather come in very rapidly with large gusts of winds blasting through the fairgrounds and ripping the stage down. The video can be seen below, but be aware that it is quite graphic as it shows this event in graphic detail:

Immediately after the stage collapsed, spectators rushed to try and support the fallen truss and rigging in an effort to save any survivors that might be underneath:

The fair was closed down Sunday as State fire marshals and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the collapse, authorities said. So, what do you think contributed to the incident? Of course, there’s the fact that there was a storm. The bad weather was anticipated though, and concert officials had informed spectators that the show might be postponed. However, the large gusts of winds were not foreseen and were viewed as “freakish” by many including Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels. Even with the large gusts of winds not foreseen, I believe there should have been the “smiley face” cuts in the rain tarps that lined the stage. I believe that the extremely large rain tarps that are clearly seen lining the top area turned the whole stage into a large sail that tried to take off. The smiley face cuts in the tarp might not have saved the situation. We will never know if the smiley faces could have stopped this, but it must be obvious that not having these probably played a major factor. It will be interesting to see what the official report states. What are your thoughts?