As we grow older and move along with our everyday lives, the summer months seem to get shorter and appear to quickly fly past us. From pool parties, barbecues, and visits to the beach, the summer season invites us to deeply immerse ourselves in the enjoyable distractions and pleasures that the warming sunshine provides. We mark our calendars to highlight the significant holidays, in an effort to honor, celebrate, and remain present with family and friends. The MedRhythm’s team would like to borrow our friends (you, the readers) calendars and mark off a special month to remain particularly aware and present for. That month is June: National Aphasia Awareness Month.
According to the National Aphasia Association, aphasia affects over 1,000,000 Americans and by 2020, yearly aphasic cases will double to 180,000. National Aphasia Awareness Month is a campaign created to help the public increase their awareness and education of aphasia and those affected with this disorder. The team here at MedRhythms hopes to play an influential role in raising awareness by understanding the effects of aphasia and spreading knowledge about the profound therapeutic benefits of Neurologic Music Therapy on those with this neurologic condition.
What is aphasia? Aphasia is a neurologic disorder in which language is impaired, as evidenced by the loss in the ability to express or understand speech. Language comprehension or production of speech is compromised, even the ability to read or write, and is most often caused by traumatic brain injury and stroke. Aphasia can even occur from infections or tumors in the brain. The manifestation of language impairment for an individual diagnosed with aphasia can be widespread. Aphasiac communication can range from mild impairments in language comprehension or production, to severe deficits in language.
There are even different types of aphasia. Broca’s aphasia (expressive/non-fluent aphasia) is the loss of language production demonstrated by a reduction of speech output. Language comprehension is intact, but the individual is limited to utterances and few words. In Broca’s aphasia, an individual knows what they want to say, but has difficulty communicating and expressing language. In contrast, Wernicke’s aphasia (receptive/fluent aphasia) is the disturbance of speech by the inability express meaningful language. In Wernicke’s aphasia, an individual can clearly speak or read with relative ease, but the meaning of language is impaired. Individuals with this type of aphasia speak with irrelevant words that do not make logical sense when combined. There is also mixed non-fluent aphasia and anomic types. The most severe form is Global aphasia, when a patient has both limited word production and limited comprehension.
MedRhythms aims to provide the best Neurologic Music Therapy services and care to all patients. Our goal is to also spread knowledge by educating about the ability that music has in recovering impaired language. This ability is illustrated through clinical NMT techniques that are based on neuroscience research of how our brains engage and are affected through singing. Music and singing incorporate the entire brain system, helping other areas of the brain to recover functioning for the injured areas. Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT) utilizes melodic and rhythmic elements of speech intonation through singing phrases and words in speech recovery for aphasic patients. In NMT techniques like MIT and Therapeutic Singing (TS), speech pathways can be rerouted from damaged areas in the left hemisphere of our brains to regions on the right that are also capable of language, strengthening neural connections. There is accessible treatment for aphasia. MedRhythms hopes to continue to be an effective provider of treatment for this population using the power of music with Neurologic Music Therapy interventions. #NMT #musicitsscience
By: Steph Mathioudakis, MedRhythms Blogger
Thaut, M.H., & Hoemberg, V. (2014). Handbook of neurologic music therapy.
Oxford, UK: Oxford Press.