Dr. LaPointe Presents to Academy of Aphasia

Dr. Leonard “Chick” LaPointe, Francis Eppes Professor of Communication Science & Disorders, traveled to Turku, Finland, last fall to present his research on birdsong and human language loss to the annual Academy of Aphasia meeting.

The idea for the research began when Dr. LaPointe was invited to serve on an FSU Neuroscience doctoral student’s committee. Neuroscience researchers had been studying the brain structure related to birdsong in the Australian zebra finch and how the songs were disrupted after surgery. Because the zebra finch acquires song under conditions very much like the ones under which humans acquire language, Dr. LaPointe became intrigued with the possible parallels between loss of birdsong and loss of language.

FSU Neuroscience researchers were also studying surgical procedures that would restore some aspects of birdsong and Dr. LaPointe wondered whether the zebra finch model might have some parallels to the recovery of language in humans. In collaboration with FSU’s Dr. Frank Johnson and the University of Pittsburgh’s Dr. Malcolm McNeil, he began and continues this research.

“It may seem a little far out,”  Dr. LaPointe said,  “but it has possibilities of really better understanding the recovery process of language after stroke.”