Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, a Harvard University neurologist, has found that music has the potential to re-wire the brain. Dr. Schlaug has been working with stroke patients who suffer from impaired speech. His findings reveal that those who are exposed to Melodic Intonation Therapy show signs of improved auditory communication. Instead of using the damaged left hemisphere of the brain where the speech center is located, somehow the music has trained the right hemisphere to perform basic communication functions. Very little is known or understood about speech recovery for aphasia* stroke victims. However, it’s not unheard of for aphasic patients to sing the words they cannot speak. Through melody and tone mute barriers are broken. Melodic Intonation Therapy is one of the few accepted treatments for this ailment.
“The power of music to integrate and cure…is quite fundamental. It is the profoundest nonchemical medication” — Oliver Sacks M.D., Awakenings
*Aphasia is damage to the portion of the brain that controls language.
To read more on Dr. Schlaug’s research visit: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/tag/gottfried-schlaug/