Posts for Tag: Music Therapy

Singing Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Speak Again : Shots

Debra Meyerson was hiking near Lake Tahoe 15 months ago when a stroke destroyed part of the left side of her brain, leaving her literally speechless. It happens to more than 150,000 Americans a year.

But now Meyerson is learning to talk again through an approach that trains the undamaged right side of her brain to "speak." Specifically, it's a region that controls singing.


Here's a fascinating story on NPR about the use of singing therapy for speech recovery after stroke. I'm interested in the technique, in the results that are possible, and in the report of using MRI in identical twins to image the changes the therapy effected. Thanks to Denise Graveline (@dontgetcaught) for digging this one out.

For another story about brain injury, see today's New York Times, When Injuries to the Brain Tear at Hearts.

Music is good for you at any age -

With age, the "plasticity" that allows experience to mold the brain so easily declines. But it doesn't disappear. At any age, learning a challenging new set of skills such as instrumental music is likely to return cognitive dividends, says Harvard University neurologist Gottfried Schlaug. And for adults, he added, the prospect of making music can be a far more effective motivator to practice than nagging parents are to younger musicians.

"Music is sort of the perfect activity that people can engage in from young to older years. It affects how the brain develops and affects how the brain changes in structure" at any age, Schlaug says.

For the mature brain, even listening to beloved music may have what scientists call a "neuroprotective" effect.


Here's something that ties in with a theme that shows up here from time to time, usually involving singing. Makes me glad I'm remembering Chopin's birthday and listening to his music. Noticed on Twitter via @alonzofretwell and @dontgetcaught.

More from the LA Times, this time on the Mozart effect, and time via @NewsHourArtBeat. Loved the introduction

Five months after we are conceived, music begins to capture our attention and wire our brains for a lifetime of aural experience. At the other end of life, musical memories can be imprinted on the brain so indelibly that they can be retrieved, perfectly intact, from the depths of a mind ravaged by Alzheimer's disease.

In between, music can puncture stress, dissipate anger and comfort us in sadness.

Music can help recovery of stroke patients


Ed Yong (@edyong209)
2/21/10 9:51
BBC - Teaching stroke patients to sing could helping them recover Favourite music could help too

Also seen on Twitter via @ralphsierra. All I know is it's a rare time when music isn't playing in my house. Guess that's a good thing.

Seems strange that I was reading the Esquire article about Roger Ebert tonight and found this

Ebert always had music playing in his hospital room, an esoteric digital collection that drew doctors and nurses to his bedside more than they might have been otherwise inclined to visit.

It's clear from the article that music plays a big part in Ebert's life, too.