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Posted by Vermont_Lymie (Member # 9780) on :
Who wants to get a glee club together?

Singing 'rewires' damaged brain

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News, San Diego

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.

An ongoing clinical trial, they said, has shown how the brain responds to this "melodic intonation therapy".

Gottfried Schlaug, a neurology professor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, US, led the trial.

The therapy is already established as a medical technique. Researchers first used it when it was discovered that stroke patients with brain damage that left them unable to speak were still able to sing.

Professor Schlaug explained that his was the first study to combine this therapy with brain imaging - "to show what is actually going on in the brain" as patients learn to sing their words.

Making connections

Most of the connections between brain areas that control movement and those that control hearing are on the left side of the brain.

"But there's a sort of corresponding hole on the right side," said Professor Schlaug.

`` Music engages huge swathes of the brain - it's not just lighting up a spot in the auditory cortex ''
Dr Aniruddh Patel, neuroscientist

"For some reason, it's not as endowed with these connections, so the left side is used much more in speech.

"If you damage the left side, the right side has trouble [fulfilling that role]."

But as patients learn to put their words to melodies, the crucial connections form on the right side of their brains.

Previous brain imaging studies have shown that this "singing centre" is overdeveloped in the brains of professional singers.

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.

Brain sounds

Dr Aniruddh Patel from the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, said the study was an example of the "explosion in research into music and the brain" over the last decade.

"People sometimes ask where in the brain music is processed and the answer is everywhere above the neck," said Dr Patel.

"Music engages huge swathes of the brain - it's not just lighting up a spot in the auditory cortex."

Dr Nina Kraus, a neuroscientist from Northwestern University in Chicago, also studies the effects of music on the brain.

In her research, she records the brain's response to music using electrodes on the scalp.

This work has enabled her to "play back" electrical activity from brain cells as they pick up sounds.

"Neurons work with electricity - so if you record the electricity from the brain you can play that back through speakers and hear how the brain deals with sounds," she explained.

Dr Kraus has also discovered that musical training seems to enhance the ability to perform other tasks, such as reading.

She said that the insights into how the brain responds to music provided evidence that musical training was an important part of children's education.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2010/02/21 05:24:44 GMT

Posted by hurtingramma (Member # 7770) on :
Can we do it by Skype? I love to sing, and sing with the church choir, but I used to belong to a couple of community choirs also. We could use some of the lyrics on this site

Wouldn't a glee club be fun? I haven't heard that term since high school - many, many, many years ago..... [Smile] [Smile]
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
Count me in! [Big Grin]
Posted by Vermont_Lymie (Member # 9780) on :
Cool, that is a great idea, Skype! Thanks for the idea gramma, but I have to admit that I have not figured out yet how to use Skype....

You are in Tutu-- soprano or alto?
Posted by hurtingramma (Member # 7770) on :
Skype is actually very easy to use. You just click and you connect. I use it to stay in contact with my daughter and family in MD. No costs associated, and I get to see my grandson's face close up (he loves to shove his face in the camera)

I have never, however, used it to connect to more than one person at a time, but I believe it is possible.
Posted by LightAtTheEnd (Member # 24065) on :
I have read before that people with Alzheimer's can still sing and recognize familiar music when they have difficulty speaking.

Cool idea.
Posted by Remember to Smile (Member # 25481) on :
Originally posted by Vermont_Lymie:
Singing 'rewires' damaged brain

Sounds like an easy pill to swallow!
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
Vermont... soprano
Posted by hurtingramma (Member # 7770) on :
Vermont - alto - any bases or tenors out there?
Posted by kelmo (Member # 8797) on :
I am first alto and second soprano
Posted by Remember to Smile (Member # 25481) on :
Originally posted by LightAtTheEnd:
...people with Alzheimer's can still sing and recognize familiar music when they have difficulty speaking

Vermont - I can contribute glee & enthusiasm. [Big Grin]

To quote a camp song (where I probably picked up more TBD's):

{Stomp your feet to the beat. Ready?}

"All God's critters got a place in the choir,

Some sing low, some sing higher!

Some sing out loud on the telephone wire

While some just clap their hands, or claws,

or fins or paws,

Or anything they got now!"

[spinning smile]

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