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BY MEGAN HOPPER
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star How I Wonder What You Are...
Can you remember the rest of the lyrics?
Even after being shot in the head at point-blank range two months ago, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords does.
Initial reports claimed the 40-year-old congresswoman from Arizona was dead after suffering a bullet to the brain on January Eighth. However, Giffords can now mouth the words to several popular children’s, jazz, and rock songs due to a pioneering music therapy technique.
Although Giffords has not fully regained her speech, she continues to improve while undergoing rehabilitation at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. CBS News asked Giffords’ lead physician, Dr. Gerard Francisco, to explain why Giffords can mouth the lyrics to full songs but only speak a few words.
“One it could be that the part of the brain that governs language is different from the one that governs singing or music. Or they can be in the same location; however, it might be easier to recall music.Things that... Especially songs that we have over-learned in the past since they are overlearned it’s easier for one person to remember those rather than speak it.”
Doctors hope the success of music therapy indicates Giffords will be able to regain her full speaking ability. ABC News correspondent Dan Muir explains why:
“Remarkable today because doctors say singing on the right side of your brain, speech on the left. And by doing the singing it can help to reignite because it is woven, interwoven. Similar regions, different parts..”
A writer for The Telegraph says the ability to mouth the lyrics of songs is just one more milestone Giffords has reached that defies the initial expectations set forth for her recovery.
“...it was widely presumed that she would spend the rest of her life in a vegetative state. Since then though, she has confounded all expectations, partly through what doctor’s describe as a sheer willpower on her behalf.”
Doctors and family members aren’t the only ones impressed by Giffords’ recovery. A writer for blog4change also applauds Giffords’ strength.
“Just reading about Gabrielle singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star brought tears to my eyes. This is one incredible, determined woman...”
Giffords’ husband, U.S. Astronaut Mark Kelly, is so impressed by her progress, he hopes that she will be in good enough shape to travel to Cape Canaveral, Florida in April to see the launch of the final space shuttle mission under his command.
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Transcript by Newsy.