Singing for speech! Restoring stroke victims' voices

Published On: Mar 06 2013 03:19:26 PM CST

BACKGROUND:  A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops, sometimes called a “brain attack.”  If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen.  Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.  There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.  Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. It can happen when a clot is formed in an artery that is already narrow, called a thrombotic stroke.  It can also happen when a clot breaks off from another place in the blood vessels of the brain, or from some other part of the body, and travel up to the brain, called an embolic stroke.  Ischemic strokes can be a result of clogged arteries.  A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain.  (Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

 

STROKE RISK FACTORS:  High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for strokes.  Other risk factors can include: atrial fibrillation, family history of stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, increasing age (especially after age 55), and race (black people are more likely to die of a stroke).  People who have heart disease, poor blood flow in their legs caused by narrow arteries, are overweight, drink heavily, eat too much fat and salt, smoke, and intake cocaine or other illegal drugs are more likely to have a stroke.  Also, women who are on birth control pills have an increased risk as well.  (Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

 

TREATMENT:  A stroke is a medical emergency; immediate treatment will save lives and reduce disability.  Patients should be at the hospital within three hours after they notice symptoms.  Clot-busting drugs may be used if the stroke is caused by a blood clot.  It will help break up the blood clot and helps bring back blood flow to the damaged area, but not everyone can get this type of medicine.   A patient must be seen within three hours of when they notice symptoms first started.  If the stroke is caused by bleeding, then clot-busting drugs can cause more bleeding.  Other treatments will depend on the cause of the stroke.  For example, blood thinners, like warfarin, can be used to treat strokes due to blood clots.  (Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)Bottom of Form

 

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  A new way to treat stroke patients is through music therapy.  Music therapy is the therapeutic use of music to help patients physically and psychologically recover form medical conditions, including strokes.  Doctors often recommend it along with physical therapy and occupational therapy.  It has been around for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until 1950 that it was recognized in the U.S. with the formation of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).  According to Al Bumanis, director of communications for the AMTA, music therapy helps stroke patients recover by using music, specifically rhythm, to relearn and the singing techniques can be used to improve speech.  If stroke patients are having trouble communicating clearly, music can help them communicate their mood and ease their frustration.  Drums are particularly effective in helping stroke patients communicate because they can learn patterns to help them communicate.  Music therapy can also help a stroke patient regain control over their muscles and regain lost skills, like walking, by matching the tempo to where the patient is and then doctors will gradually increase it.  (Source: http://www.musictherapy.org)

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

 

Todd Murphy

Senior Communications Specialist
Oregon Health & Science University

(503) 494-8231
murphyt@ohsu.edu