Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stroke survivor regains speech, but with an accent

One day when Rosemary Dore was 50, she felt weak and dizzy. Going home to rest didn't help; she was having a stroke. But while she regained the ability to speak after long and frustrating therapy, the brain damage left the Windsor, Ont. woman sounding like a person with an accent. A Newfoundland accent. And she has never been anywhere near Atlantic Canada. Two years later she still can't move properly. ...

She's not reverting to an accent from childhood, or something she remembers from friends and family. She has lived all her life in Hamilton and Windsor, travelling only to Florida on vacation. Her parents were southern Ontario natives too.

"Speech planning is an incredibly complicated thing," based on the many connections between different pieces of the brain that psychologists call the "speech motor circuit," explains Karin Humphreys, a psychologist at McMaster University. ... if you disrupt just one tiny portion of that circuit, it's going to change the way you speak," she says. - canada

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