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New clinic offers music therapy For Brain Injury or Disorders

For a lot of people, music can be medicine for the mind. And it seems for patients with brain injuries or disorders, it could be just what the doctor ordered.

A clinic recently opened in Michigan that, founders say, is the first of its kind in the Midwest. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor created “Sophie’s Place” which offers music therapy to help patients with many different brain injuries or disorders.

Natalie Douglas, a professor in the Communication Science & Disorders department at Central Michigan University, said music therapy has been successful at helping people with a brain damage disorder that affects speech, called aphasia.

Douglas said “Melodic Intonation Therapy” can develop pathways in the brain to help create a new way to learn language and speak again.

“It’s a new way to do an old thing,” she said. “When you think about using melody to talk, we don’t normally have to do that because we have a setup where we think of a word, and we just say it. But something like Melodic Intonation Therapy, uses music and is trying to recruit from a different set of neuropathways.”

Douglas also said if Michiganders are looking for help with music therapy, the Music and Memory program is one online tool that could point users to local resources.