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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

More recently, Dr. Smith has adopted the 21st century technology of audio and video podcasting as conduits for the short health and wellness reports, HEALTH NEWS YOU SHOULD USE.  Many of these have video versions, and they may be found on his YouTube page:

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

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Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Mar 9, 2019


It’s generally thought that background music stirs creativity.  Not so says a study from several universities in the UK and Sweden just published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

A total of 84 university students and staff were presented with tests of creative ability, so-called Compound Remote Associate Tasks or CRAT for short.  Subjects were exposed to instrumental music only, songs with completely unfamiliar foreign language lyrics, or hit songs with familiar lyrics.  The control sounds were library background buzz and absolute quiet.

The study results showed that the familiar songs with lyrics negatively impacted creativity the most followed by instrumentals and then foreign language songs.  Test performances were the same in absolute silence and in the low din of the library.

The researchers hypothesize that the changing state of sound is most responsible for reducing creativity as the music reduces the performance of verbal working memory.  I personally love listening to music while writing.  If you do too, we may both be blunting our creative energies.  Some sacrifices are worth making, but knowledge is power.

#creativity #distraction #insight #music #quiet #healthnews 

Emma Threadgold, John E. Marsh, Neil McLatchie, Linden J. Ball. Background music stints creativity: Evidence from compound remote associate tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/acp.3532