Learning Morse Code results in qualitative change in white matter

It is interesting that diffusion tensor imaging technique shows the increased integrity and development of neuron fibers in the brain. This study shows learning Morse Code has augmented the fractional anisotropy of the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus whose function is vaguely understood regarding emotion or thoughts. It means learning Morse Code has caused alteration of this structure of white matter, that is, increased connection of centers in occipital, temporal lobe and the other areas.

Reading only this abstract of the paper, I am wondering how they have set the control in the observation of time dependent change. The other question is if learning Morse Code could be compared to second language acquisition. Since Morse Code system has no grammar, it is not a language itself.

Despite of such questions in this study, it still means Learning Morse Code causes structural change in the white matter, which means the improvement of the skill in Morse Code reception will be done stepwise. Once we obtain its capability, we won't lose it easily. Morse Code reception could be useful to activate our brain. 


 2017 Jul 26;11:383. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00383. eCollection 2017.

Learning Morse Code Alters Microstructural Properties in the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus: A DTI Study.


Learning relies on neuroplasticity, which has mainly been studied in gray matter (GM). However, there is mounting evidence indicating a critical role of white matter changes involved in learning processes. One of the most important learning processes in human development is language acquisition. However, due to the length of this learning process, it has been notoriously difficult to investigate the underlying neuroplastic changes. Here, we report a novel learning paradigm to assess the role of white matter plasticity for language acquisition. By acoustically presenting Morse Code (MC) using an in house developed audio book as a model for language-type learning, we generated a well-controlled learning environment that allows for the detection of subtle white matter changes related to language type learning in a much shorter time frame than usual language acquisition. In total 12 letters of the MC alphabet were learned within six learning session, which allowed study participants to perform a word recognition MC decoding task. In this study, we found that learning MC was associated with significant microstructural changes in the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). The fractional anisotropy (FA) of this associative fiber bundle connecting the occipital and posterior temporal cortex with the temporal pole as well as the hippocampus and amygdala was increased. Furthermore, white matter plasticity was associated with task performance of MC decoding, indicating that the structural changes were related to learning efficiency. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate an important role of white matter neuroplasticity for acquiring a new language skill.


Harvests in the garden farm

Cooked pumpkin, sweet potato and chestnut, all of which have been harvested in the garden farm this fall. Seasoned with bee honey, soy sauce, sake and so forth. I haven't realized that these materials were all from the garden until this dish was cooked.

It has been too wet this summer. The growth of these vegetables were not necessarily ideal. My heart is still filled with gratitude for the harvest. Lettuce, spinach and broccoli would follow in a few weeks. If they grow well, some of the harvest will be sent to my friends as my father used to do.



From Perception to Pleasure

This is an interesting article regarding the origin of pleasure in music. It also indicates the pleasure of CW as a communication mode comparing CW to music. This analogy between CW and music is possible due to the fact that each intellectual activity is based on expectancy.

The author of this review says the cortical loop between the auditory center and the frontal cortex enables recognition of the structural regularities in music pattern. The limbic system is involved in rewarding and pleasure. The connectivity between this nucleus accumbens and the cortical loop shows the level of pleasure through expectancy.

The fact the pleasure of music comes from the expectancy and the sense of rewarding as a result of expectancy attracted my eyes a lot. I enjoy both music as well as CW. This study result coincides with what I feel with both.

It may deduce that the meaningful conversation on CW communication is the source of pleasure in it. Without meaningfullness, CW communication should be just exchange of symbols which won't require any expectancy. This exchange of symbols would not be associated with any pleasure inherent to conversational CW communication. 

Resignation in life and Brahms

A couple of months ago, a renowned novelist, Taichi Yamada, has announced in an interview that he would cease writing since he had cerebral bleeding. He was 83 years old.

In the interview, he told our lives were conditioned with many factors like abilities, fortune, outlook and so forth, which we could not deal with even if we try to endeavor pursuing for them. We are destined to resign in our lives. Admiring that it is worth making efforts for better things in life, we eventually realize we should live in resignation. The absolute resignation comes from the limited span of our lives.

Yamada also says that resignation means clarifying things in our lives. When we see things calmly as they are, we could see what they mean. It is a process that we could not experience when we seek after them. However, standing still looking around things lets us understand what they are. This sounded like a wisdom of Buddhism even though I am not sure what has given him such an idea.

In old age, we still spend everyday as we have done in the past. Looking for something interesting, eating something tasty or pursuing some income. But the basic tune being played as basso continuo should as well as is that for resignation.

Having interviewed with Yamada, the interviewer said he had looked cheerful, calmed and transparent. It is often difficult for us to accept our fates with resignation. Reading this interview, however, I thought I would follow him. It is the meaning of living old age, possibly.

His story was reminiscent of this symphony by Brahms to me. I have loved this performance of Staatskapelle conducted by Kurt Sanderling. I could hear the steps of Brahms getting through struggles and resignation in life in this symphony. You may be absorbed into the world Brahms expressed in this music when you listen to the very first auftakt in the 1st movement as if he sighed.


Fall has advanced

Fall has advanced. Not too long before it starts being frosty in the morning. It is a question how the veggies like broccoli are ripened by that time.

This is a baby broccoli plant germinated a couple of weeks ago. Lovely as if an own child.

Cosmos flowers are fully blown. They are very sturdy grown from spontaneously flown seeds in the ground. In a sense, they could belong to wild weeds. On the other hand, mariegold is neatly coming out as planned. The seeds are being collected for the next season.

The other vegetable, again germinated some time ago, are growing. It is named sunny lettuce, akin to usual lettuce but not forming spherical shape. It will be in the dish of fresh salad every day.

Chinese cabage, bought as a baby plant at a store, will be good as a material of pot dish in the winter. This may tolerate the cold weather to some extent if it grows to certain size by then.

It is already mid fall here. One of the best seasons in a year. Treasure every moment when I could play and work in the garden. 


Arrival of fall season

It is a real first fall day today. Crisp breeze is blowing over the trees of magnolia or zelkova. Persimmon trees bear fruits, some of which are getting colored. 

The soil on the ground has been wet throughout the last month. It was not very good for tomatoes. I hope the newly planted ones would yield some before it gets too cool.

The flowers are passing their best time. It will be the time for me to collect the seeds from marigold for the next year. As told before, persimmon and chestnuts will be ripened in a month or so.  

The sweet potatoes are growing thick at various places in the yard. 

It will be the fall with good weather and rich harvest soon. 

Chicken cooked with welsh onion

I still cook supper every day. Sometimes burden and, in the other occasions, pleasure for me. I sometimes wonder if it is what I should do at present in my life. So far, no one takes it over. I owe to my wife for many things in the past. I should turn my negative feeling for cooking to positive. Believe that it is a calling for me at present. I won't ask such a thing as this to myself too often. Just having a glass of beer, I set hand to cooking every day. Sometimes watching TV. If I would like it, some classical music is played such as h minor Suite by Bach or Piano Quintet Nr1 by Dvorak.

Chicken was cooked with welsh onion seasoned with soy sauce, sake and sugar. Not bad.

I still would like to travel to the mountain area in Shinshyu when the fall breeze blows in the valley there. i have a cousin, old and living alone, over there. I have promised her for a visit some time ago.