Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A stroke victim learns to speak through song

I find is fascinating that speech is formed by the left side of our brain, while singing, though it uses the same muscles, is formed on the right side of the brain. That division may have saved Mr. Harvey Alter, a stroke survivor, from never being able to speak again.

After his stroke, and the resulting Broca's aphasia that is caused, Mr. Alter could say only short words after month of therapy. Now, the conversation is flowing with much less difficulty thanks to melodic intonation therapy, a therapy that helps stroke victims learn to speak again by first teaching them to sing.

In today's New York Times(http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/health/22stro.html?_r=1&th=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&emc=th&adxnnlx=1208867443-SaFTSaS+Lm2ZuHy3sjUsiw), the details of the therapy, as well as Harvey Alter's dramatic recovery are both touching and inspiring. "Happy Birthday" opened the door to a new life for him, the confidence to believe that he could heal himself. So while music may be good for the soul, melodic intonation therapy makes it also good for the mind.


Janet Grace Riehl said...

Yes, song and music are powerful in stroke and dementia work. My father and I communicated with my mother by singing to her and listening to her sing after her major stroke left her in the haze of another world.

Christa, I'd like to learn more about your prase "curating a creative life." Would you write to say more?

Janet Riehl
creating connections through the arts and across cultures and generations

Christa said...

Hi Janet,
Thank you so much for your kind post on my blog and for sharing the story about your mom. How is she doing? I also want to check out your company as well as the blogs you write as well.

I'll definitely put together a post on my the subtitle of my blog "Curating a Creative Life". Thank you so much for asking. I am also just now putting together a personal website to promote myself as a freelance writer and writing a piece on this phrase will be a great intro to my blog page.

All my best,