Singing 'rewires' damaged brain
By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News, San Diego
Singing words made it easier for stroke patients to communicate
Teaching stroke patients to sing "rewires" their brains, helping them recover their speech, say scientists.
By 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.
Hey, Mel Tillis, a most famous stutterer, was a terrific singer.
So, how do you do it?
During the therapy sessions, patients are taught to put their words to simple melodies.
Professor Schlaug said that after a single session, a stroke patients who was are not able to form any intelligible words learned to say the phrase "I am thirsty" by combining each syllable with the note of a melody.
The patients are also encouraged to tap out each syllable with their hands. Professor Schlaug said that this seemed to act as an "internal pace-maker" which made the therapy even more effective.
"Music might be an alternative medium to engage parts of the brain that are otherwise not engaged," he said.
But it's that last part that intrigues me.
Music opens up areas of the brain that are not otherwise engaged. That's why we need more music in the world. Because I think there are a lot of disengaged brains out there, myself included.