Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Both sides of brain involved in speech, study finds

I feel for people who have speech problems after a stroke. It happened to me in 1998. For a few hours, I could not speak or read at all. When I finally could speak, the words made no sense.

My wife asked me to say "Jonesboro," the name of an Arkansas city I'd visited not long before. I came out with: towrith, rice, torithe (her own spellings). I had apparently confused two separate ideas: Jonesboro the city, and the fact that it is in east Arkansas, known for its rice fields.

So I feel for people such as the Canadian woman who have been struggling with aphasia after her stroke:
“I still…lots of things I can’t talk,” she said, speaking slowly. “It’s in your head but it won’t come out.”
My stroke happened on the left side of my brain, and it slowly rewired itself so that my speech, reading and writing abilities slowly came back. I still feel that my speech is not quite what it was, but so much better than that day in 1998.
Photo from
National Institute on Aging
A recent article might explain how rewiring might happen, quoting experts how both sides of the brain are involved in speech, study finds:
Speech involves the use of both sides of the brain, according to a study that may overturn the widely held belief that only one side of the brain is used for this task.
The findings improve understanding of how speech is generated in the brain and could help lead to new ways to treat speech problems, the researchers said.
Much more research is needed to help so many people struggling with speech problems after strokes.

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