Helsinki [Finland], December 29
T hrough singing-based therapy, patients' and their families' psychological health as well as language function can be enhanced. Group intervention is both cost-effective and offers possibilities for peer support.
hrough singing-based therapy, patients' and their families' psychological health as well as language function can be enhanced. Group intervention is both cost-effective and offers possibilities for peer support.
Aphasia, a problem understanding or producing spoken or written language brought on by a cerebrovascular accident, affects about 40 per cent of stroke survivors. One year after a stroke, the linguistic deficit is still present in 50 per cent of these individuals. Aphasia can easily cause social isolation in stroke survivors and has a wide range of negative implications on their capacity to function and quality of life.
According to a recent study conducted at the University of Helsinki, singing-based group rehabilitation can support communication and speech production of patients and increase social activity even at the chronic phase of stroke. The burden experienced among the family caregivers participating in the study also decreased notably.
"Our study is the first where caregivers participated in rehabilitation and their psychological wellbeing was evaluated," said Postdoctoral Researcher Sini-Tuuli Siponkoski.
Versatile use of music supports recovery
Previous research has established that the ability to sing can be retained even in severe aphasia. However, the use of singing, especially choral singing, in aphasia rehabilitation has not been widely studied.
"Our study utilised a wide variety of singing elements, such as choral singing, melodic intonation therapy and tablet-assisted singing training," said Doctoral Researcher Anni Pitkaniemi.
In melodic intonation therapy, speech production is practised gradually by utilising melody and rhythm to progress from singing towards speech production.
In the study, rehabilitation sessions were led by a trained music therapist and a trained choir conductor.
New and effective forms of rehabilitation needed
In addition to speech therapy, melodic intonation therapy has been used to some extent in aphasia rehabilitation. Therapy has typically been implemented as individual therapy, requiring a great deal of resource.
According to the researchers, singing-based group rehabilitation should be utilised in healthcare as part of aphasia rehabilitation.
"In addition to training in speech production, group-based rehabilitation provides an excellent opportunity for peer support both for the patients and their families," said Sini-Tuuli Siponkoski.
Study: Singing-based therapy support communication of stroke patients
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