Monday, February 22, 2010

Singing to recover from strokes

from w
Several of the world media outlets today are running a story that someone has discovered that singing a song helps stroke patients recover their ability to speak words and sentences. As if this is something just discovered. Fifteen years ago I was helping a Fijian relative recover her speech after a stroke by doing this. She stayed with us for two months. After I read up about strokes and speech at the Deakin University library in Geelong, I decided to ask her to sing Fijian hymns for a start, then sing sentences. All this was part of her rehabiliation in regaining her speech. So it's not a new discovery at all. It has been a method used in speech therapy for a long time. I don't mean that I discovered it! I read about it then. It's about left and right hemispheres of the brain. I wonder if there is much therapy in Suva and other parts of Fiji in helping people recover their speech. It's not even a specialist kind of job. Anyone in the family can help a patient to sing! An article about music therapy by Oliver Sachs is worth a read.

This is how the BBC wrote up about it today:

Singing 'rewires' damaged brains in stroke patients
AdvertisementTeaching stroke patients to sing "rewires" their brains, helping them recover their speech, say scientists. y singing, patients use a different area of the brain from the area involved in speech. If a person's "speech centre" is damaged by a stroke, they can learn to use their "singing centre" instead. Researchers presented these findings at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Diego.

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