MUSIC AND BRAIN INJURIES




"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without."

Confucius

Music and brain injuries go together like a horse and carriage. Findings show that music helps those who have had a traumatic brain injury regain speech through singing familiar songs. Music therapy can sped up the healing process and is used in many different situations.

People who have suffered strokes or a traumatic brain injury often have trouble regaining speech. That is because the area of speech and comprehension are on the left side of the brain. If the stroke or injury occurred on this side of the brain, then it is difficult for someone to regain control of speech and comprehension quickly.


But because the music areas of the brain are located in both hemispheres of the brain, music can be used to bypass the normal language channels that have been injured. By using this “backdoor approach”, stroke victims and people with brain injuries can learn to speak again.

Gabby Gifford, a congresswomen from Arizona, was shot in the head on January 8, 2011. Just 5 weeks later she was relearning how to talk. She would grow very frustrated trying to recall words for certain objects.

Once music therapy was introduced, Gabby’s progress skyrocketed.

(You may be able to find an interview with Gabby Gifford that was done by ABC.)


UPDATE:

On September 8, 2012, Gabby was able to walk on stage at the Democratic National Convention to lead the delegates in the Pledge of Allegiance. What a wonderful accomplishment in just 19 months. WATCH this clip of the DNC from FOX NEWS.


November 8, 2012, Gabby Giffords met her shooter face to face in the courtroom where he was being sentenced to life imprisonment. Notice that she has to wear a sling for her arm that was left paralyzed from the shooting.



OTHER USES FOR MUSIC THERAPY

"Where words fail, music speaks."
Hans Christian Andersen, children's author

In May, 2006 at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, at a symposium on "Brainwave Entrainment to External Rhythmic Stimuli: Interdisciplinary Research and Clinical Perspectives,", this was stated:


Most music combines many different frequencies that cause a complex set of reactions in the brain, but researchers say specific pieces of music could enhance concentration or promote relaxation. "If we can get some reliable evidence from neuroscientists that music therapy works, music is cheap and nearly anybody can get access to it."


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Music intervention is used for:

  • Pain relief;


  • Communication improvement;


  • Rehabilitation for stroke victims;


  • Stress release and relaxation during pregnancy;


  • Depression and grief;


  • Physical disabilities;


  • Developmental and learning disabilities such as autistic spectrum disorders, downs syndrome and other pervasive learning disorders.

Music therapy is being used in many different ways in many different situation and many different places. At Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, music is being used to help children, who have long stays in the hospital, interact with other children and the staff.


Nursing homes are using music therapy to help residents with pain management, depression, grief and to help the elderly with their physical disabilities.


Prisons, drug and alcohol rehabilitations centers are using music intervention as well. Anyone can benefit from this type of intervention. A person doesn’t need to be musically inclined or know much about music in order to participate.


It has been found that music:

  • helps improve muscle strength and range of motion.

  • helps parent-child interaction when child would otherwise be non-communicative.

  • helps non-verbal child express feelings and emotions.

  • helps stimulate sensory production in verbal, visual, tactile and auditory areas.

  • therapy can help rebuild language on the right side of the brain.


To find a music therapist in your area, go to American Music Therapy Association or check with your local hospital or rehabilitation center. To find out more about music and brain injuries check out your library. The library may also have a list of qualified music therapist in your state.



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