Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

Name that Tune and crack the Alzheimer’s code…

on July 16, 2014

Alright; Me again! How are you?!

Have I mentioned that we have foolishly rented our house out for the golf open at Hoylake?! URGH. Idiots.
Whilst I am loving the updates on Tom Cruise ambling the aisles of the local Morrisons and rumours of Harry Haircut Stiles, Daniel Craig et Al swarming into Wonderful Wirral, for us, family Leary, the whole thing has, frankly been a humongous pain in the neck. Lesson well and truly learned.

Having said that, one of the nice things about the whole sorry incident is that we have decamped to my mums for the week and the girls are getting to spend loads of time with their grandma and we have found some of the books my sister and I used to read as children.
One is all about how the body works which is amazing.
When you think about what an incredible machine the body actually is, it is pretty mind-blowing really isn’t it.


I have mentioned before about pictures, sounds and smells being able to instantly transport you back to a different time and place and, coincidentally the other day when I was away with my geek chic job, I received an email about how a DJ and scientist have developed a game to try to figure out why that is.
How come we remember all the words to Wigfields Saturday night (as well as the über cool dance moves).
Why is it that the opening bars to Some Might Say or Sit Down (the big littles current fave!) are indelibly etched on our brains.
What is it about music that means I know the exact order of all the songs on an album if I can hear played in full but, couldn’t name one if I just words read out ala Ken Bruce and Pop Master?


Well, I don’t know but, fear not, soon we might and, by learning more about the parts of a song that ‘hook’ us in, scientists might come closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. How awesome is that? Basically, a computer game, created from code, is helping us to discover more about how the brain works and, how we can stop or slow down the fading of the brain which is so very sad.

KAPOW- how’s about that for proving that coding is important, relevant and potentially life changing.

If you’re old and remember ‘Name that Tune’ which, FYI is returning to our screens soon (discovered whilst searching for the above picture! How serendipitous!) you should get the jist.
If you are young and don’t remember ‘Name that Tune’, it’s not complex- you’ll get the jist!


The game for all has four ways to play – including asking users to select the tune they find the catchiest, to singing along and trying to stay in time.
Users can play as many times as they like to improve on their scores, and share results with their friends on social media. So much more useful than stupid candy crush!
It can be played on the go or at home – with friends or on your own.

#Hookedonmusic was created by computational musicologist Dr John Ashley Burgoyne (yep, that’s a thing) and his team at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht, with the support of citizen science expert and Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, Erinma Ochu.
These super smart scientists hope that the results from #HookedOnMusic will aid future research into Alzheimer’s disease. This game aims to help scientists predict the catchiest musical fragments and devise ways to trigger memories and provide therapeutic benefits.
It makes me want to shout “Science B*tch” like a certain Mr Pinkman. Oh, how different things could have been if he and Mr White had used their powers for good hey?!

Always time for a gratuitous photo of Aaron Paul!!

DJ/journalist Dave Haslam was at the launch and is totally behind the game; “It’s great to be involved with such an innovative project. Everyone knows when they’ve heard something catchy or which resonate with them in some way, and stays with them, but to try and uncover the science behind this is pretty exciting. And if the results from thousands of people playing the game lead to the scientists discovering how music can help people with serious memory loss then that would be fantastic.”

The more participants the better the results will be – and the more scientists will be able to learn about musical memory.
The more they learn, the more they will know. And, the more they know the bigger the potential differences they can make. Awesome.

Dr Burgoyne comments: “Catchy music is about so much more than summer hits. It’s really about what kinds of music we remember – and what kinds we don’t! With #HookedOnMusic, we’re trying to measure how much faster a ‘hook’ can come back to you compared to the rest of a song and what there is in the music that can explain the difference.”

#HookedOnMusic can be played by logging online to and, if you do happen to thing stuff like this is ridiculously brilliant check out @McrScifest or @voiceofmosi for more of the same.
So, if you have a potentially painful car journey approaching, or want to legitimately wile away the hours playing computer games, you need #HookedOnMusic in your life!!
Wasting time improving people’s quality of life. What could be better?! I’d be playing it now if the blimmin’ wifi worked…1 step forwards and 3 steps back hey!




PS- It is this sort of thing that the young people coming to The Festival of Code this year and taking part in the iDEAS Projects that I keep banging on about develop. If you know any young people that are into computers, send them our way and they can get involved in an an amazing community.

PPS- We have just left Runcorn and, as I turned around to see who the excessively loud Essex boy was talking about horse racing and Chelsea FC (if you’re talking loudly at least have the common decency to drop in some tips) I spied a lady using her IPad so rechecked the wifi and, turns out the reason I’ve been without technology for the whole journey is because I didn’t tick ‘agree to the terms & conditions’ box. URGH. Idiot.


One response to “Name that Tune and crack the Alzheimer’s code…

  1. I thought it would be good to rent out the house, although our friends in west kirby declined an offer. You’ve got to try it once though. x

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