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Narrative Medicine Rounds: “Music and the Brain: How Our Lives in Sound Shape Who We Are,” A Talk by Nina Kraus


Oct 03, 2018 - 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Faculty Club of Columbia University Medical Center, Physicians & Surgeons Building, 630 W. 168th St., 4th Floor, New York, NY

For our October Narrative Medicine Rounds, we welcome Nina Kraus, Ph.D., Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences, Neurobiology and Otolaryngology at Northwestern University.

Her talk, “Music and the Brain,” will center on the ways sound processing in the brain is a reflection of brain health. “How our brains respond to sound reveals each person's unique narrative of their life experiences,” says Dr. Kraus.

Although we are surrounded by sound all of the time, we rarely give much thought to this invisible yet powerful companion. “We have discovered a way to objectively capture the imprint that sounds leave on our brains,” says Dr. Kraus. “This biological approach empowers us to learn more about this invisible ally and enemy of brain health.” Dr. Kraus will examine the promise of measuring sound-prints in the brain to assess and manage sports-related concussions. She will discuss how music training is beneficial for the brain, strengthens our communication skills, and can inform healthcare, education and social policy. Join us to get swept away in this sensory learning experience.

Dr. Kraus is a scientist, inventor and amateur musician who uses hearing as a window into brain health. She began her career measuring responses from single auditory neurons and was one of the first to show that the adult nervous system has the potential for reorganization following learning; these insights in basic biology galvanized her to investigate sound processing in the brain in humans.

Her research has found that our lives in sound, and our experiences—for better (musicians, bilinguals) and for worse (concussion, aging, language disorders)—shape how our brain makes sense of the sounds we hear. For more information about Dr. Kraus’s work, visit the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory website.

About Narrative Medicine Rounds
Narrative Medicine Rounds are lectures or readings presented by scholars, clinicians, or writers engaged in work at the intersection of narrative and health care. Rounds are held on the first Wednesday of each month during the Spring and Fall terms from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and are followed by a reception. Rounds are free and open to the public; no RSVP is necessary. Students, staff, faculty, patients, friends, and interested others are warmly welcome to attend.


Nina Kraus, Ph.D., Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences, Neurobiology and Otolaryngology, Northwestern University