A small speck


An interesting piece of research caught my eye this morning: it appears that singing may help those who have suffered a stroke to recover speech. Newer technology (brain imaging in this case), has led to discoveries in neuroscience which simply wouldn’t have been possible only a relatively short time ago. What interested me was that professional singers have an overdeveloped ‘singing centre’ in their brains. See the full article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8526699.stm

This finding is reflected in a study of London taxi drivers (Maguire et al. 2000). The area of the brain called the hippocampus is critical to spatial memory. In the taxi drivers, this area was found to be bigger and more active than in members of the general population. The longer the taxi drivers had been in their job, the larger the hippocampus. (Interestingly, other bits of their brains were smaller – there’s only so much room inside a human skull.)

I dread to think what has happened to the ‘mental arithmetic’ part of my brain since my schooldays. Hence the title of the post.


2 thoughts on “A small speck

  1. my speech therapist in hospital told me that her experience, and current research, suggests that often what a person did most often, ie on a daily basis, often recovers first after a stroke. she knew of a pianist who recovered hand movements very quickly, but not speech. my own experience is my relative swift recovery of reading – i’m now back to pre-stroke speed 🙂 yet i still struggle to sing…
    the research suggests the brain has more than one ‘pathway’ for frequent activities, so if one pathway is damaged, another can be found relatively quickly…
    the brain is truly a fantastic piece of kit!!!!

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