Long-time aphasia sufferers speak fluidly with help of iPod touch

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Those who have experienced Broca's aphasia for decades can speak more fluidly through therapy that involves mimicking other speakers, according to study results published in the journal Brain.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public are touting the benefits of “speech entrainment” therapy after testing its effectiveness in a study involving 13 people with Broca's aphasia.

In one stage of the therapy, participants were given an iPod touch showing video of a speaker's mouth, and they mimicked the movements of the mouth in real time. A recording released by the university shows a man who has had Broca's aphasia for 22 years speaking fluidly along with the video.

"This is the first time that we have seen people with Broca's aphasia speak in fluent sentences,” said lead researcher Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D. “It is a small study that gives us an understanding of how the brain functions after a stroke, and it offers hope for thousands of people who suffer strokes each year."

Study results were announced January 15.

Another recent study, from the Research Centre of the University Geriatrics Institute of Montreal, also demonstrated the benefits of language therapy for people who have had aphasia for years.

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