Recovering from a stroke

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mazzywoo | 06:10 Tue 17th Jan 2012 | Body & Soul
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Good morning everyone.
This is a puzzling one and I am interested in finding out how/why it's happening!
A dear friend of ours had a severe stroke last summer and is now in a nursing home, paralysed on his right side and only able to say 'mumumum..'
It was his birthday recently and one of the nurses sang 'happy birthday' to him. Surprisingly, he joined in, singing all the words as clear as anything! They tried other songs (Ilkley moor bar'tat was one!) and again, he sang along.
How come someone who can't actually speak can sing? Is it something to do with nerve pathways in the brain. Is this a breakthrough in his recovery do you think?
As I say, I would be interested to hear if anyone else has come across this too!
Many thanks, best wishes
Maz xx


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It's been known for some time that people can sing after strokes even when they can't talk. I'm sorry but I'm not medically qualified to know why, but it is quite common and I know they use singing therapy to improve speech in stroke patients in some countries. Robert de Nero was a stroke victom in the film 'Flawless' and the whole film centres around his friendship with a drag queen who helps him regain his speech by singing. Quite a funny film. I hope your friend goes on alright.
Nox has said it all really....there is a name for this.....but I can't remember it .

depends upon which side of the brain the stroke has affected......if it is the right side...then speech is not affected as the speech area (Broca's area) is on the left side.
BUT, if the left side, including the speech centre is affected, then the speech of the patient will be severely affected, but singing will help rehabilitation by "re-routing" the neurones.
Different parts of memory and different aspects of the speech pathway...

Had a lady on a ward when I was a nurse who could only grunt and make odd sounds but could take part in communion and sing hymns so ingrained in her brain I suppose
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Thanks so much for the replies guys. I have heard that somehow the brain can re-route its nerve pathways. Our friend is having speech therapy already so hopefully the therapist can encourage him to sing-might help his confidence too-he is rather depressed and frustrated. He obviously knows what he wants to say but can't get the words out. The only other thing he CAN say, with a little prompting from his wife, is 'I love you'. It brings tears to the eyes when he comes out with that!
Thnks again, Maz xx
That's very interesting - years ago someone told me that as I was left-hqmded, if I ever had a stroke, I would be more likely to be able to talk than aright-handed person - now I see why. Mazzywoo, I hope that your friend continues to improve.

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Recovering from a stroke

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