New therapies are using rhythm, beat and melody to help patients recover language, hearing, motion and emotion.

One day when Laurel was 11, she began to feel dizzy while playing with her twin sister and some friends in a park on Cape Cod. She sat down, and one of her friends asked her if she was okay. And then Laurel's memory went blank. A sudden blockage in a key blood vessel leading to the brain had caused a massive stroke. Blood could no longer reach regions crucial for language and communication, resulting in permanent damage. Laurel was still able to understand language, but she struggled to vocalize even a single word, and what she managed to say was often garbled or not what she had intended. Except when she sang.

By William Forde Thompson 

Read more at: www.scientificamerican