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Stroke survivors can benefit from music therapy

Written by Diane Archer

There are more than 7 million stroke survivors in the United States, many of whom have lost their ability to speak and move and many others of whom have lost cognitive functions. But, with intensive therapy, sometimes it is possible for them to regain both physical and mental skills. There is evidence that stroke survivors can benefit from music therapy; movement and muscle control can improve as well as speech and mood.

The Sacramento Bee recently profiled a program in California that is doing wonders for stroke survivors who have lost their ability to speak by engaging them in song.

Interestingly, music therapy can trigger memories in stroke survivors that can allow them to sing in a choir even when they struggle to speak in sentences.  People who otherwise cannot form words are able to do so in combination with melodies. Research has shown that melodic intonation therapy, in which patients associate common phrases with rhythmic pacing and simple tonal patterns, has helped some stroke victims improve their ability to speak over time.

In addition, group sessions for stroke survivors affords them an ability to engage and socialize, which can be very important for their health.

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