June 18, 2024
Speech Rehabilitation

Neuroplasticity and Singing: A New Approach to Speech Rehabilitation in Post-Stroke Aphasia

Strokes, also known as cerebrovascular accidents, are the leading cause of aphasia, a speech disorder that originates in the brain. Approximately 40% of stroke survivors are diagnosed with aphasia, and half of them continue to experience symptoms a year post-attack.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki have recently discovered that singing plays a crucial role in the language recovery of stroke patients. In a groundbreaking study published in eNeuro, they have identified the underlying mechanism behind this rehabilitative effect.

The language network, responsible for processing language and speech in the brain, is damaged in individuals with aphasia. The University of Helsinki team, led by Researcher Aleksi Sihvonen, has now revealed that singing contributes to the repair of this network through neuroplasticity changes.

Previous research conducted by the Rehabilitation in Post-Stroke same team showed that sung music aided in the language recovery of stroke patients. However, the reasons behind this effect remained unclear. This new study sheds light on the neuroplasticity processes that occur during singing rehabilitation.

Sihvonen explains, “Our findings represent the first evidence that the rehabilitation of aphasia patients through singing is based on neuroplasticity changes. This means that the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize itself in response to new experiences or injuries plays a significant role in speech recovery.”

By understanding the neuroplasticity mechanisms at play, researchers can develop more effective and targeted rehabilitation strategies for individuals with aphasia. Singing, as a low-cost and accessible intervention, offers a promising avenue for improving speech production and overall quality of life for stroke survivors.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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