Scientists look to songbirds to solve human speech disorders

Scientists look to songbirds to solve human speech disorders

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The Rockefeller University scientists look at the brain circuits in songbirds which they say, show similarities to humans. The discovery may help individuals with speech disorders. Roselle Chen reports.

Songbirds may hold answers to questions about how humans form words for speech, knowledge scientists say could eventually translate into treatments for speech impediments. Using laser capture microscopy, Dr. Erich Jarvis and his team from The Rockefeller University hope the images will help them understand how the signals from the bird’s brain use a similar process to that of humans when learning to speak. Singing evolved independently in songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds and the set of about 50 genes involved in birdsong is similar to those involved in human speech. Just like humans, songbirds learn their vocalizations by imitation.