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Singing Therapy for Fluency in the News - featured October 3, 2011

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Thanks to our Twitter friend @DrVoiceTrainer for the heads up on this article.

[Image: singingkingsspeech.JPG]
Photo: Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech. Credit: Weinstein Co

[Source: Scientific American]

Singing therapy is often used to restore fluency to sufferers of speech disorders due to stroke. Recent research found, however, it may not be the singing itself that helps. Christie Nicholson reports

Left-sided stroke victims are often left with a debilitating speech disorder. Yet many can sing entire pieces of text fluently.

Singing is thought to activate areas of the right hemisphere which can pinch hit for the stroke-damaged left side of the brain.

Recent research from the Max Planck Institute has found, however, that it’s not the singing that matters. It’s the rhythm. And if the lyrics are familiar the stroke sufferer finds it even easier to speak them. The research appears in the journal Brain.

Scientists had 17 stroke victims attempt to pronounce thousands of syllables which were sung and recited with either rhythmic or non-rhythmic accompaniment. The lyrics were either very familiar or unfamiliar.

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Tags: News of the Week Stuttering Newsletter 7 October 2011